Monday 27 January 2020

Pep Guardiola demands high-octane performance from Manchester City

Pep Guardiola is demanding more of the same from his Manchester City at Tottenham on Sunday
Pep Guardiola is demanding more of the same from his Manchester City at Tottenham on Sunday

Pep Guardiola has demanded no let-up in intensity from his Manchester City stars as they aim to extend their perfect start to the new Premier League season at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

City clawed back three times to grab a 3-3 Champions League draw at Celtic on Thursday, with midfielder Fernandinho admitting the players were struggling to live up to Guardiola's orders.

But Guardiola insisted there would be no excuse for slackening off in their clash against second-placed Tottenham despite the effects of their midweek exertions.

Addressing Fernandinho's concerns, Guardiola responded: "I don't accept that - I wouldn't be happy. I want it to be the principle of all our games.

"That's why the players have to take care of themselves in their private life, sleep well, eat well, because the way we play is so demanding. People cannot escape - another one has to be there.

"The way I want to play is that way and it's much more simple to improve. But for the 90 minutes the players have to put in absolutely everything on the field - that's the most important moment in their lives."

There is no suggestion Guardiola has any problem with the Brazilian midfielder, who has proved one of his star performers in their exhilarating start to the new campaign.

He is expected to prove pivotal once again at White Lane Lane in the continued absence of Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany, while Fabian Delph also remains on the sidelines.

Fernandinho said he expected similarities in the way Celtic threatened City with their high-pressing game and how Mauricio Pochettino's side are expected to set up on Sunday.

Fernandinho told City's official website: " It's going to be very difficult because last year they played very good at home, finished in the first three positions in the league and they have a lot of quality players who run a lot.

"It will be quite similar to Celtic but we have to prepare as well as we can in the two or three days we have before the game.

"The next game is always the toughest in every season. It's also the most important because we have learnt from the past so we have to be prepared for what Spurs can do."

Despite watching his side surrender their 100 per cent start to the season in all competitions in Glasgow, Pochettino insisted he would be happy with more of the same against Spurs provided the players live up to his testing expectations.

"I like the teams who are active - you see that when they play they are aggressive even without the ball. I see that in Liverpool and Tottenham - they start the game and they say, I want to try and do something.

"That is what happened in Glasgow. Of course the fans were disappointed we did not win but they were happy with what they saw.

"When I went to the locker room the players were exhausted - they couldn't even talk. That's what I want from my players, and that's why I cannot be disappointed with our performance in Glasgow."

PA Media

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