Wednesday 18 October 2017

Pep Guardiola: Manchester City must win games like Watford to join Europe's best

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants his team to follow up their impressive win at Feyenoord
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants his team to follow up their impressive win at Feyenoord

Pep Guardiola feels Manchester City must win games like this weekend's at Watford to prove they can join the European elite.

City opened their Champions League campaign with an emphatic 4-0 victory at Feyenoord in midweek, an impressive display that came just four days after a 5-0 hammering of Liverpool.

But Guardiola's men won just two of the six Premier League games that immediately followed a Champions League group game last season and the City boss feels his team must cope better with tough schedules.

Guardiola said: "It will be a demanding game, especially coming just three days later.

"With the trip back to Manchester, now travelling to London, there's not too many hours for regeneration.

"We have to handle that if we want to become a good team in the next years. We have to handle these situations, when one team have one week to prepare and we don't have the time. In these situations we have to try to win.

"When that situation happens we will be on the path to being a good team."

Watford have made an impressive start to the season under new manager Marco Silva, collecting eight points and remaining unbeaten in their first four games.

Guardiola said: "Watford are just two points behind us, they made an amazing start. They didn't lose one game.

"I was so impressed with their performance against Southampton. They completely dominated the game.

"They have fast players, new players and a good manager. What Silva did last season with Hull City was amazing. He is a fantastic trainer.

"Watford is always complicated. They are so physical with the throw-ins and set-pieces and have quality up front."

Captain Vincent Kompany is unlikely to return but is now back in training after a calf injury.

Guardiola, speaking at his pre-match press conference, was also vague on the prospect of veteran midfielder Yaya Toure being involved.

Toure has been left out of the squad for the past two games and did not travel to Rotterdam at all this week.

Asked if Toure could feature, Guardiola said: "We will see."

Guardiola, however, did go on to add that Toure remains an important member of the squad and will have a key role to play this season.

He said: "I need him, the team needs him. He was so important last season and he'll be so important this season.

"He is part of the group. I admire him and what he has done in his career. He is an exceptional player.

"In the last games he was not in the squad but of course he is going to help us."

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