Pep Guardiola says he hasn’t been surprised by Aston Villa’s success under Unai Emery given the Spaniard’s managerial track record.

City travel to Villa Park with just a single point separating the sides ahead of Wednesday’s 20:15 (UK) kick-off.

Should we come out on top, then we will become the first team to take points off the hosts on their own patch in 2023/24.

But the boss insists that he expected to see the Villans challenge at the top end of the league this season due to the impressive work that Unai Emery has overseen since his appointment in October 2022.


Indeed, Guardiola believes his counterpart has already imprinted his footballing philosophy to great effect at Villa Park, just as he has done in previous managerial roles across Europe.

“The fact his teams and all the teams he’s managed, the effect is there. His print is already there,” the boss said in his pre-match press conference.

“Always when he leaves, the teams are better in all departments, the results, the players, controlling high presses, deep, set pieces and transitions, it’s exceptional.

“I have a lot of admiration [for Emery].

“Always it’s difficult [to face Aston Villa].

“The run, the form that they have this season especially at home, because they’ve won everything, but away as well, it’ll be a tough game. We knew it before, and we know it now.”

Hear the boss’ thoughts in full via the video above...