Pep Guardiola has discussed Manchester City’s new found defensive strength this season and has attributed their success to the commitment of his players.
After struggling defensively last season, City’s fortunes have improved hugely over the opening months of the 2020/21 season, with Guardiola’s side boasting the Premier League‘s best defensive record as we reach the half-way point in the campaign.
Ruben Dias has excelled at centre-back since his club-record arrival from Benfica during the summer, whilst the likes of John Stones and Joao Cancelo have improved significantly with the former now established back in the side.
City kept another clean sheet as they defeated Manchester United 2-0 on Wednesday to reach a fourth consecutive Carabao Cup final, and Guardiola has praised the commitment of his players following their impressive defensive record so far this season.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: “Except [during] the game against Leicester when we were so naive in giving away three penalties, the rest of the games from the beginning of the season were really good in terms of how solid we were and how many chances we conceded but of course lately the back four has been so solid and big thanks to everyone.
“Phil Foden made an incredible effort with intensity and sprints in the last two games. But the back four don’t make stupid mistakes, 1v1, blocking shots, they were brilliant. Everyone is so committed and that helps us.”
City will be hoping to continue their recent form when they begin their FA Cup campaign against Birmingham tomorrow, though will be missing a number of players ahead of the clash at the Etihad.
Ederson, Ferran Torres, Eric Garcia and Cole Palmer will all be missing after testing positive for coronavirus, whilst Ayermic Laporte and Nathan Ake are major doubts through injury.