Manchester City may be the club showing the best football in Europe’s top leagues right now, but it doesn’t mean it’s the easy life. Attention is even more on the club this week as they prepare to face Manchester United, in what some see as a battle of styles.
Jose Mourinho’s side have scored 35 goals so far this season, which is 11 less than City, but still has Manchester United ahead of anyone else.
More recently, Pep Guardiola’s side have won their last three Premier League games all with the same result, 2-1, with the winning goals coming late in the match after a real struggle. The difficulty in beating English sides has now been related to the opponent’s tactics, at least by some in the Manchester City squad.
With defensive n tactics clearly frustrating some at City, ESPN Brasil interviewed a few players after Sunday’s game against West Ham, and they all agreed that other clubs have been too defensive.
Ederson was the first to talk, and claimed it’s been happening for a while now: “I think it’s the third consecutive game that we find it difficult to reach the opponent’s goal. But the teams have been playing closed, we have had difficulty finding the spaces there, because there are a lot of people in front of the box.”
Gabriel Jesus said the opponents don’t even try to win: “We took on teams that came with the intention of drawing, more the draw than the victory. They wouldn’t come out for the game, they came for the counterattack only.”
And Nicolas Otamendi, rightly, says it’s Manchester City’s job to find a way to beat these tactics: “The last matches were similar. The teams with practically the eleven in the box. It’s complicated for us, and they obviously hold the game, and try to take advantage from a set piece. We have to live with it. Our game idea is always the same, and with this type of game we must have a lot of patience and precision when attacking.”
Ahead of facing Manchester United, it may be considered that City could expect Mourinho to park a bus, but at least one of Guardiola’s stars is expecting the opposite at Old Trafford.
Gabriel Jesus also spoke on a next weekend’s derby match against United, which he expects to be different: “It will be a good game, a great game, great players, great players. I think it’s going to be a spectacle. I don’t think Manchester United will be all at the back because it’s a good game, and just like us they also need the result.”