City’s Guardiola expects repeat of game plan from Man.United in League Cup semis - GulfToday

City’s Guardiola expects repeat of game plan from Man.United in League Cup semis


Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva takes part in a training session on Monday, ahead of their League Cup semi-final match against Manchester United. Courtesy: Manchester City Twitter

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola expects a repeat game plan from Manchester United in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final on Tuesday.

United produced an exhilarating display of counter-attacking football to beat Guardiola’s side 2-1 in last month’s Premier League derby at the Etihad Stadium.

They meet again in the first leg of their semi-final at Old Trafford this week and City boss Guardiola feels he knows what to expect.

“It will be quite similar,” said Guardiola. “Of course at Old Trafford it will be quite different to here but they are a team that are built to run.

“When they can run they are one of the best teams, and not just in England, I would say, because of the pace they have -- (Daniel) James, (Mason) Greenwood, (Anthony) Martial, (Marcus) Rashford and (Jesse) Lingard.

“I have the feeling they are going to run, one or two or three times, or as many times as possible, and we have to reduce the mistakes in the build-up. We have to be prepared for that but we have to do our game.”

United tore City’s defence apart on numerous occasions on Dec.7 and could have had much more to show for their efforts than first-half goals from Rashford and Martial.

Nicolas Otamendi pulled one back late on but United held on to inflict a defeat that dealt another blow to City’s faltering Premier League title challenge.

Despite United’s win, City dominated in terms of possession and opportunities created and Guardiola did not feel his team did a lot wrong.

Guardiola said: “I am not going to prepare our game just thinking, ‘don’t let them run’.

“We have to go there and try to score a goal, play our game and try to get a good result from there.

“Except the first minutes when we conceded three or four times when they could run, the rest of the game I liked a lot the game we played and the chances we created in many situations.

“I would like to play quite similar.”

Guardiola says United are starting to play the way Solskjaer wants them.

Speaking about Solskjaer, he said: “I think he is starting to see his team like he wants. The last (league) game against Arsenal they lost, but you see clearly what he wants.

“It was not easy to handle a team at a big, big club, always demanding to be champions in all competitions, but I think every manager needs time.

“I have the feeling United have started to play the way he wants.” With the Premier League title apparently heading to Anfield, Guardiola is forced to focus on the cup competitions after winning a domestic treble last year.

“A third semi-final in a row. It is not the best competition in the world but it is nice to be here again and against our city opponents,” said the City boss.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer says Jesse Lingard is starting to regain his form after toning down his social media activity.

The 27-year-old England international, who had been a prolific user of social media, was criticised after he posted a crude video on Snapchat last June, for which he was disciplined by the club.

Lingard did not score a Premier League goal or register an assist in 2019 and has managed just two goals in the last 12 months in all competitions.

However, his manager, speaking ahead of United’s League Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester City on Tuesday, said the midfielder was returning to form.

“Jesse has had his ups and downs as I’ve spoken about before. But say the games against (Manchester) City and Tottenham (last month), they are examples of how important he can be for us,” Solskjaer said.

Inconsistent United impressed in a 2-1 win against City in the Premier League last month after beating Tottenham by the same scoreline.

“We have to aim for performances like that (against City),” Solskjaer said.

“When you get highs like that I am sure they will look back on it and say, ‘That’s the Man United we want to see’, but we still can improve on that one.”

Agence France-Presse

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