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‘Right into United’s hands’ – Shearer surprised at Guardiola’s approach to Manchester derby

Alan Shearer has criticised Pep Guardiola’s tactical approach following Manchester City’s defeat in the Manchester derby this weekend.

The Premier League champions lost further ground in the title race following a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to their local rivals, goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial condemning Guardiola’s side to a fourth league defeat of the season and leaving City 14 points adrift of leaders Liverpool.

Man City once again looked vulnerable defensively, particularly on the counter-attack, with Manchester United creating a whole host of goalscoring opportunities and former England forward Shearer was critical of Guardiola’s tactical approach.

“At the Etihad on Saturday City paid the price for playing right into United’s hands,” Shearer wrote in The Sun.

“We all know that their strength is on the counter-attack and in the first half the likes of Marcus Rashford, Dan James, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial ran City ragged.

“I understand Pep Guardiola having belief and confidence in his team but they made life so easy for United.

“I thought they would attack and play their normal game but at least leave one or two extra bodies at the back to shut the door just in case. But there was none of that on show. It really is no exaggeration to say United should have scored five, maybe six in the first-half. City were so open and it looked like they would concede every time United went on the attack.

“In the end, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team had so many good chances we didn’t have time to show them all on Match of the Day.

“Once again we saw that City’s Achilles heel is in defence. Yes, they are still missing Aymeric Laporte through injury — but what surprised me is that this result came just days after they were so good in beating Burnley.

“In particular, Rodri was excellent in giving that back four the protection it needed. That all went out of the window on Saturday, where they were wide open and just let United attack.

“What’s really worrying for them is that we have seen this season through Wolves, Newcastle and now United that once you get through their press you can score goals against them. They are giving away so many chances, which must be of real concern for Guardiola.

“Once you play through or over that press they are vulnerable — and that’s why they are now so far off the pace.”

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