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What the Media Says

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Media City: Crisis? What crisis?

It’s matchday, so one topic dominates the City-centric headlines this morning: the Premier League visit of Southampton.

Today’s stories include views from the opposition, comment on the Blues’ recent form and even a morsel of transfer gossip. Let’s see what’s being reported…

With City winless in four, Southampton manager Claude Puel has warned he fears a backlash, hailing the quality of Pep Guardiola’s side.

He told press: “It was the same before the game against Inter, as they had problems before our game.

“I think Manchester City played a good game against Barcelona and for me, there was no big difference between the two team but Lionel Messi made the difference.

“I saw a very good team with quality, a good collective and good players.

“We can see from the last result against Internazionale when you can play a good game without a good result and I hope for Manchester City, against a very good team, for a strong game.”

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Meanwhile, Saints midfielder Sofiane Boufal insists his side are confident ahead of the trip to the Etihad Stadium.

Quoted on the club’s official website, he declared: “It’s a very, very big game against Manchester City. They lost on Wednesday against Barcelone and will want to win again for confidence.

“It’s a very good match for us and I hope for a victory. Why not?

“Of course we can be confident. We have great players in our team.

“I think we can go to Manchester City and win. But it’s a very strong team, they have very good players.

“We need to focus and if we have good opportunities we need to score goals.”

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Examining the bigger picture with a considered piece, Goal.com’s Sam Lee has dismissed the suggestion City are in ‘crisis’.

“The trolls and banter merchants who call the Manchester City boss a fraud will be loving the club's recent struggles, but their crowing will surely not last much longer,” he writes.

“Pep Guardiola says his style of play is not working at Manchester City. The question on everybody’s lips is, ‘Will it ever?’.

“During City’s run of 10 consecutive victories Guardiola always said “he knew what would happen” when his side eventually went through a bad patch, and he appears to be spot on.

“Predictably, there’s now lingering talk of a crisis at the Etihad Stadium following a run of four games without a victory.

“Guardiola said on Friday as he once again pointed out he needs time to change the club.

“He also said he ‘will go home’ if things aren’t panning out his way during his second season.

WHERE TO WATCH: CITY v SOUTHAMPTON

“Oh how some would revel in that. The battle lines have long been drawn as far as Guardiola is concerned: depending on your point of view he is either a genius or a fraud.

“Those of the belief he is a fraud - as foolish as they are - are waiting for him and his philosophy to fail. After the 4-0 defeat at Barcelona in midweek they smelled blood and came out in their droves to delight in a failing project.

“The trolls and the Twitter banter accounts - the same ones who delighted in Paul Pogba’s poor form at United despite hailing him at Juventus - ran wild, and will go into overdrive if City can’t beat Southampton today.

“But there are more important people that do buy into Guardiola’s ways. They are Manchester City players.

“Nobody knows what will happen next, whether the upheaval of turning the club upside down and ostracising dissenters like Joe Hart and Yaya Toure will be worth the hassle.

“But Guardiola has enough credit in the bank to be given the benefit of the doubt, and he knows it. Those 21 titles at Barca and Bayern have not come through luck. He made huge, often unpopular, decisions at both clubs and he came out the other side.

“Those asking will Guardiola’s style ever work in Manchester should ask themselves something else. Why wouldn’t it?”

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Finally, January may feel like a lifetime away but there’s a snippet of transfer gossip, as the Sun report.

According to Phil Cadden: “City are set to make a shock £20million move for Cesc Fabregas.

“Fabregas, 29, turned down AC Milan and Juventus in the summer but has made just one Premier League start under Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

“City have not won in four games and Guardiola is concerned by a lack of creativity in midfield.

“Guardiola bought Fabregas for Barcelona from Arsenal in 2011 for £35m. He scored 20 goals with 15 assists as Barca won four trophies that season.

“City are happy to improve Fabregas’ current £160k-a-week deal and even offer a future move to sister club New York City.”

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City remain in the headlines this morning as national papers continue to reflect on the loss in Barcelona while looking ahead to Sunday’s tie with Southampton.

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