Manchester City

  • De Bruyne admits to being below his best...

    Kevin De Bruyne admits he has been below his best for Manchester City but believes regular game time will help to rediscover his spark. The Belgium international enjoyed a stunning 2017-18 campaign, in what was a record-breaking season for all concerned at the Etihad Stadium. H...

    De Bruyne admits to being below his best during injury-hit season at Man City

    Kevin De Bruyne admits he has been below his best for Manchester City but believes regular game time will help to rediscover his spark. The Belgium international enjoyed a stunning 2017-18 campaign, in what was a record-breaking season for all concerned at the Etihad Stadium. He delivered eight goals and 16 assists in Premier League competition, having posted six efforts and laid on 18 more in 2016-17. The target has been found just once this term, but De Bruyne has been severely hampered by injury. Ligament damage in his right leg kept him out for three months early in 2018-19, while a similar ailment in his left knee sidelined him in November. He has been restricted to just two Premier League starts as a result, and told reporters of his form after the most recent of those against Huddersfield: “I’m getting better. “You need a run of games where you play a lot because I’m not used to playing every three days, but I’m getting there. “I’m happy with the way I’m performing. It’s not the same record as last year, but you can expect that because I’ve been out since the World Cup. “To come back twice is not mentally not that easy, but I’m happy to be back playing football again.” De Bruyne concedes that the only way he is going to make the contribution expected of him is to take in more minutes. With that in mind, he is eager to figure as often as possible over the coming weeks. City’s next outing is set to come against Burton Albion in the second leg of a Carabao Cup semi-final clash that they already lead 9-0 on aggregate. “I want to play every game,” said De Bruyne. “We know with Burton, we should go through, but every game you need to show respect to the other teams. What they did is amazing for them. In the end, it is the manager’s decision who plays on Wednesday. “We want to go as far as possible and until now we have done well, so we will try to keep that going.”

  • 'Guardiola woke us up' - Sane reveals ha...

    Leroy Sane claimed Manchester City were given a wake-up call by Pep Guardiola at half-time during their 3-0 Premier League win over Huddersfield Town. Danilo's deflected drive gave City an 18th-minute lead at the John Smith's Stadium but the reigning champions were far from thei...

    'Guardiola woke us up' - Sane reveals half-time rocket for Man City

    Leroy Sane claimed Manchester City were given a wake-up call by Pep Guardiola at half-time during their 3-0 Premier League win over Huddersfield Town. Danilo's deflected drive gave City an 18th-minute lead at the John Smith's Stadium but the reigning champions were far from their fluent best as they sought to rein in Liverpool's seven-point advantage at the summit. Sane was key to their improvement during the early stages of the second period – crossing for Raheem Sterling to head home before completing the scoring on the end on Sergio Aguero's knockdown. "In the second half we played quicker and controlled it really good," the Germany winger told Sky Sports. Asked what Guardiola told his players at the interval, Sane replied: "That we can't play the way we played in the first half, that we have to do more. "They [Huddersfield] made a lot of pressure too and we know in the Premier League that if they score for 1-1 it will be difficult to win the game. "He woke us up again a little bit to play our game quicker, better. "He's always kind of relaxed but tells us we can do better. He did it again." Danilo's goal was City's 100th in all competitions this season and the Brazil full-back concurred with Guardiola's assessment. "Sometimes we tried things and they didn't happen," he told Sky Sports. "In the second half we put in more intensity and that was important." The win means City have cut the gap to leaders Liverpool to just four points. The Reds' dramatic 4-3 win on Saturday had opened up a seven-point gap over theier north-west neighbours, but City reduced that just under 24 hours later. Before Guradiola's men can again attempt to draw closer to Liverpool, they face two cup games. First City have the formality of their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Burton Albion, before they host Burnley on the FA Cup on Saturday.

  • Guardiola demands improvement despite 3-...

    Pep Guardiola warned Manchester City to up their performance levels after a 3-0 win over Premier League basement boys Huddersfield Town. City held a 1-0 lead at half-time thanks to Danilo's deflected drive, with Leroy Sane later telling Sky Sports that Guardiola "woke us up" at ...

    Guardiola demands improvement despite 3-0 Man City win

    Pep Guardiola warned Manchester City to up their performance levels after a 3-0 win over Premier League basement boys Huddersfield Town. City held a 1-0 lead at half-time thanks to Danilo's deflected drive, with Leroy Sane later telling Sky Sports that Guardiola "woke us up" at the interval. The Germany winger was particularly receptive to his manager's words – crossing for Raheem Sterling to covert a diving header before himself getting on the scoresheet. Speaking at his post-match news conference, Guardiola's satisfaction did not extend too far beyond the fact his reigning champions were back to within four points of league leaders Liverpool. "Today we are happy but after that we have to analyse what we have done, and if we want to win in future we will have to play better," he said. "The way we played, we didn't deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future. We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it's difficult. They defended deep and man to man. "In the second half we were better, especially the first 15. Our rhythm was not quick enough in the first half, but we would take that result. "I am honest with them and tell them all the time what I feel. We have to try and find the reason why we didn't play quicker or better. "After what these guys have done in 16, 17 months, it can't be lack of intensity or not wanting to run. We didn't make passes in a row, we had to move it quicker. We spoke about what we should do in the second half." Improvements should certainly be forthcoming from two of Guardiola's key players after Kevin De Bruyne completed 90 minutes for the first time in an injury-hit Premier League season, while Sergio Aguero was back in the starting line-up following a bout of illness. "Kevin played 90 minutes, that is good news. When you are a long time injured you need the rhythm," the former Barcelona boss added. "Sergio was sick, and he needs time, too. They are incredible players but they need rhythm." Next up, City have the formality of defending a 9-0 lead in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final against Burton Albion before an FA Cup fourth-round showdown at home to Burnley next weekend. Liverpool, by contrast, can rest up until hosting Leicester City on January 30. Guardiola, who confirmed record signing Riyad Mahrez was not injured despite being omitted from his matchday 18, added: "I would rather be in Liverpool’s position. All we can do is win our games. Improve, analyse our games and try to improve. "I cannot answer about Liverpool in every press conference. Now we have the EFL Cup. We will see."

  • What did Pep say at half time? Man City ...

    Pep Guardiola will have had some choice words for his Manchester City players at half-time in Huddersfield on Sunday. They worked, and the result was another City victory to keep them right on Liverpool's tails in a title race that promises to be one of the most thrilling in year...

    What did Pep say at half time? Man City scoring spree goes on

    Pep Guardiola will have had some choice words for his Manchester City players at half-time in Huddersfield on Sunday. They worked, and the result was another City victory to keep them right on Liverpool's tails in a title race that promises to be one of the most thrilling in years. City led 1-0 at the break but that came from a fortunate deflection, and for all of their possession they created little, and looked sluggish. It should be pointed out, given how bad a decision it was, that they should have had an early penalty when Terence Kongolo bundled Raheem Sterling over in the area. How referee Andre Marriner, and his assistant, decided it was not a penalty is beyond any reasonable witness. If you ever want an advertisement for VAR, there it is. But all the same, City were nowhere near their best. Kevin De Bruyne's only significant involvement was the pass to set Sterling free for the would-be penalty. Fernandinho gave the ball away often but fortunately for City he won it back just as quickly. Leroy Sane looked isolated, as he can do when faced with a couple of defenders and without David Silva to help him out. The visitors barely looked like they would extend their lead, and we know Guardiola would not be happy with that. When he faced the inevitable inquest about his entire footballing philosophy amid the poor results over Christmas, he was asked if he should consider a more defensive approach after his teams go 1-0 up. "Score another one," he insisted. "And another one, and another one." Some journalists may not have grasped his ideas by now but his players have, so they will have been in for a rocket at half-time, despite their lead. The much talked about Amazon documentary showed what Guardiola can be like when he's not happy with his team and while it may not have quite been at Wigan levels of ire - "Nobody talk!" he barked at his players. "Everybody wee, drink water and relax!" - it cannot have been far off, such was his side's dreariness. Even if Huddersfield were themselves dreadful. The Premier League's bottom club are without a manager and seemingly without much hope of staying up - and their rumoured attempts to recruit Guardiola's highly rated No.2, Mikel Arteta, are doomed to failure. On another day City could have been troubled by a team relying on set-pieces and counter-attacks but the Yorkshire side seemed incapable even of that. Their forays forward were aimless and quickly broken up, their corners usually met by either Aymeric Laporte or Nicolas Otamendi. Yet stranger things have happened and it would have been a dreadful place to drop points. Alas, they did not. Sane said Guardiola "woke City up" at half-time, and while he said there was no anger involved, the Catalan certainly got his point accross. Less than 15 minutes into the second half they were 3-0 up. For the first, they may have benefitted from the kind of poor officiating that cost them that first-half penalty. Sane was marginally offside when he received the ball but the flag did not go up, leaving the German to dart in behind and fire in a cross that Sterling stooped to head in at the far post. Most television viewers would have still been watching replays of the offside by the time City worked a way in yet again. The desire that Guardiola would have instilled in them at half-time was in evidence as they broke up a Huddersfield break in the hosts' own half, leaving them scattered across the pitch. Danilo's high ball forward was not perfect but Sergio Aguero's header was, cushioning the ball into the path of Sane, who raced in on goal and calmly passed the ball into the back of the net. And that was that. City had strolled for the first 45 minutes and now, thanks to their quick one-two, they could do so again, this time safe in the knowledge they would be taking three points back to Manchester. Fernandinho, who had been booked earlier on, came off almost straight away, kept fresh for harder challenges down the line. Especially as City have decided not to sign anybody in January. It is understood that Schalke's Sebastian Rudy will not be targeted, even on loan. Huddersfield had a few chances as City dropped their tempo again, but again their lack of quality was evident. "The way we played we didn't deserve more than three goals," Guardiola said afterwards. "We will improve in the future. We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it's difficult." Even so, City cut Liverpool's lead down to four points and can now look forward to a couple of opportunities to cut it even further, as they kick off their next two fixtures before Jurgen Klopp's men. This title race looks sure to go all the way...so long as there is no repeat of the sluggish mentality witnessed in the first half here today. Guardiola will certainly be having more words to make sure that is not the case.

  • Huddersfield Town 0 Manchester City 3: D...

    Manchester City went past 100 goals for the season and closed back to within four points of Premier League leaders Liverpool with a 3-0 win at Huddersfield Town. Danilo's deflected long-range effort brought up that landmark, achieved across all competitions, after 18 minutes but...

    Huddersfield Town 0 Manchester City 3: Danilo, Sterling and Sane on target for ton-up City

    Manchester City went past 100 goals for the season and closed back to within four points of Premier League leaders Liverpool with a 3-0 win at Huddersfield Town. Danilo's deflected long-range effort brought up that landmark, achieved across all competitions, after 18 minutes but Pep Guardiola's side were some way from their fluent best during the first half. Raheem Sterling headed home the crucial second early in the 54th minute before fellow winger Leroy Sane got in on the act, puncturing a buoyant Huddersfield crowd that came to celebrate David Wagner's tenure. Caretaker boss Mark Hudson stepped in after Wagner's departure this week and oversaw a battling display, albeit from a team 10 points from safety at the foot of the table. Sergio Aguero prodded wide in the third minute after exchanging passes with Sterling, whose strong penalty claims fell on deaf ears when he was brought down by Terence Kongolo. City were unlucky on that occasion, but their opening goal came with a slice of fortune as Danilo's speculative drive spun off Christopher Schindler and beyond the helpless Jonas Lossl. Ilkay Gundogan went close to doubling the visitors' lead as the end of a scrappy opening 45 minutes approached. The Germany midfielder was involved in the move that put the game beyond Huddersfield as Sane stayed just onside to collect Kevin De Bruyne's pass for Sterling to head home. Sane went from provider to scorer two minutes later as he darted on to Aguero's clever knock down and dispatched a bouncing ball past Lossl. City substitute Bernardo Silva was denied by Lossl before lively Huddersfield replacement Steve Mounie blazed his side's best chance wide in the final action of the contest. What does it mean? City have appetite for the chase Since back-to-back defeats against Leicester City and Crystal Palace handed Liverpool the title initiative last month, Guardiola's men have won six consecutive games in all competitions, scoring 22 unanswered goals in their past four. That untimely wobble is receding from view and, with the likes of Aguero, De Bruyne and David Silva all working back towards full match sharpness, there should be more to come. Sterling relishes a hostile battle Andre Marriner's decision not to award Manchester City's right winger a penalty early on truly beggared belief. Sterling had already been bizarrely singled out for boos by a section of the home faithful, but he seems to revel in making a mockery of such nonsense nowadays. Having scored a late winner at the John Smith's Stadium last season, the England star again produced the game-breaking contribution. Lowe fails to keep the high line It seems harsh to single out any of Huddersfield's tireless defensive unit after their efforts ended without reward. However, it must have been galling for the collective to see Chris Lowe's concentration waver and play Sane fractionally onside for Sterling's goal. It was a yard of space the Town left-back could scarcely afford to give to his countryman. Key Opta facts - Sane has had a hand in 20 goals in his past 17 Premier League starts, with eight of his own alongside 12 assists. - Huddersfield have won none of the 34 Premier League games in which they've conceded the first goal (D3 L31), losing all 14 at home when conceding first. - Sterling's two most recent Premier League goals have been headers – only one of his first 57 in the competition came via his head. - Since the start of last season, Huddersfield have failed to score in 32 Premier League matches – nine more than any other side. - Sane and Sterling have combined for six Premier League goals this season – the only duo to combine for more often are Bournemouth's Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser (seven goals). What's next? City head to Burton Albion in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday, just the nine goals to the good. Huddersfield scored only have 13 in the Premier League all season and must look to add to that meagre tally when they host Everton in nine days.

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