City boss Pep Guardiola has explained how he worked around Ralf Rangnick’s ‘aggressive’ United system in the Manchester derby.
The Citizens ran out 4-1 winners at the Etihad after an accomplished performance against their local rivals. They dominated possession for large periods and looked a class above Rangnick’s men.
Kevin de Bruyne gave City the lead just five minutes in. Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish linked up down the left, before Silva sent a dangerous ball into the penalty area. de Bruyne reacted first to beat David de Gea.
Despite going behind early on, United were level by the 22nd minute. Paul Pogba sent a cross-field pass over to Jadon Sancho, and the former City man then curled a shot in off the post.
The Red Devils went behind again though, with de Bruyne once again finding the net. Phil Foden forced a save from de Gea, and after a scramble in the box, de Bruyne was there to finish.
Riyad Mahrez scored twice in the second half to make it a comfortable win for Guardiola’s men.
During a post-match interview with BBC Sport, Guardiola revealed how City worked around Rangnick’s plan. “It was excellent from the first minute,” he said. “We played really well and had to be patient in the first step.
Pep Guardiola reveals how City ‘made space’
“Ralf [Rangnick] tried to change the mentality for Man Utd to be more aggressive but we made space, especially in the second half, to play behind [Scott] McTominay and Fred.
“Football is emotions. It’s tactics, definitely, but it’s also emotions. Without the ball, we are a team with desire and passion to regain the ball from the first minute to the 90th.
“We also want the ball as much as possible and, especially, second half we used it very well.”
On Jack Grealish’s performance, Guardiola added: “He was excellent. [At one] moment he will understand in the final third, ‘this ball is from me’. He is very generous.
“When you see Phil and Riyad in that moment, it is their ball. This is the next step for Jack, but in terms of decision making, and using players in space, he was exceptional.”
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