Friday 22 March 2019

Pep Guardiola worried by Padraig Amond threat and says Man City could 'suffer' against Newport

Newport County's Padraig Amond celebrates
Newport County's Padraig Amond celebrates

Andy Hampson

PEP Guardiola has warned his Manchester City superstars that they will face a real test in the FA Cup fifth round clash against Newport County at Rodney Parade today.

Guardiola is especially worried about Newport's strike force, led by in-form Carlow hit-man Padraig Amond.

"Both their strikers score goals, they are incredible from set pieces and throw-ins," said the City boss.

"They go for the second balls and use the channels to put the ball into the box and make us defend deeper," said Guardiola.

"Especially in our box we are going to suffer because they are taller and stronger than us, so in some areas they are better than us.

"We have to try and bring our game in the way we are stronger than them. Which team is going to control these areas and bring their own game? That will be the advantage to go through."

Much has been made of the poor state of the pitch in south Wales, with Guardiola also wary of the physical threat Michael Flynn's side might pose.

Guardiola is refusing to use the damaged playing surface as a potential excuse.

The surface, which is also used by Dragons Rugby and Newport RFC, is showing heavy signs of wear and tear despite being part-synthetic.

"We have to adapt," said Guardiola, who denied Welsh rumours City groundstaff had deliberately churned up a training pitch to help the side's preparations.

"It is what it is and we accept that challenge. We played in the Premier League against Tottenham after NFL games.

"We'll see what the pitch is like when we arrive. If you cannot play (the normal game), you have to play longer or quicker - but I don't know. We are going to see.

"You don't win absolutely anything complaining about that. When we play away, they are the owners of their stadium and they can play the pitch what it is."

For all their success, City have recent experience of a cup upset after losing at then League One Wigan at the fifth-round stage last season.

Guardiola believes the memory of that rare blip, in an otherwise outstanding season, will help his men guard against any complacency.

He said: "We know what happened last season with Wigan. In one game, especially away, anything can happen. We'll take it seriously, I'm sure about that."

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