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Guardiola: I’m lucky to have ‘fantastic’ team

BOSS MAN: Pep watches on from the sidelines

BOSS MAN: Pep watches on from the sidelines

Pep Guardiola praised the ‘fantastic human beings’ around him, as City moved top of the Premier League table with a 2-0 triumph over Brighton.

Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero were on the scoresheet in each half at the Etihad Stadium, as the Blues produced a professional display to down the Seagulls with two moments of quality.

Guardiola expressed his satisfaction after the victory, and spoke highly of his team, deeming City's display ‘alive’.

“You know my opinion about the group,” he told press. “I’m a lucky guy to have this group of fantastic human beings.

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“You could see the way we celebrated the second goal – we are alive.

“After seven games, we are as consistent as we were last season. We were solid and conceded just one shot on target against Cardiff, Oxford and Brighton.

“With the opposition playing far away from our goal, we can control a lot.

“Everybody was in the right position and everybody knew his needs.

“When Brighton are able to attack with the striker, they are dangerous. They beat United and played so well at Anfield – they had chances to take a point.

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“I am very pleased. I told the players to be careful because Brighton are a serious team. They came up from the Championship with the same manager and I give a lot of credit for our performance and the way we attacked.

“Every time we lost the ball, we recovered and we attacked with ten players at the edge of their box. That is a dream for us.

“We would like to use (counter-attacks) more but sometimes, the opponents don’t break. To make these breaks, you have to play long-balls but often, there are ten players there.

“We have to learn to attack ten men. We have the kind of players to do that. When we play with Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling, we use it. We don’t have Kevin De Bruyne, who makes these kind of actions, but to do that anyway, the opponents have to break.

“It is important that we had 80% of possession and conceded only one or two counter-attacks.

“It’s easy to defend and run. It is more difficult to attack players there and create enough chances to win the game, and not concede.

“Today was much better (in terms of having more desire to score late on). There was no comparison to the Huddersfield game.

David Silva dropped a little bit and we could take risks. Attacking against ten players, we did really well.

“Most of the time, we are playing as well (as we do with De Bruyne). In some situations, we are even better. Kyle Walker is learning a lot how to play inside.

“After what happened last season, we have fears of dropping points at this point in the season. We dropped points at Wolves but in general, all of our performances were quite good.”

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Guardiola also revealed Aguero – scorer and architect of the Blues’ superb second goal – has been playing recently with a foot injury.

The Argentine netted a minute before he was due to be substituted, with Gabriel Jesus readying himself for action on the sidelines.

“It’s not the reason I changed him – because he scored a goal!” Guardiola laughed.

He explained: "He was struggling with some problems in his foot. He could not make 100% effort because he had not recovered from what happened against Newcastle.

“We had spoken about playing 55 or 60 minutes. That’s what happened. We are lucky he scored a goal in the moment (before he was substituted).

“Hopefully, he will be okay for Tuesday. We are controlling and fighting (the problem) but he needs time.

“There are two games left before the international break. Hopefully, he can play in those games. He is not in the best condition physically because of the problem in his foot.”

Discussing City’s chances of silverware this season, ahead of a potentially crucial week of games with a European trip and top-of-the-table clash, Guardiola remained grounded, asserting the Blues are simply focused on the next task at hand.

“We are only in September,” he stated. "There are two games before the international break, which are so important.

“The spirit, and how we play, and the focus (are important). After a season with 100 points, sometimes you dismiss things but that has not happened and we continue as a team.

“I said after the Lyon press conference: I believe too much in these guys. It doesn’t matter what will happen between now and May-June.

“We are alive. Lyon were better than us for 45 minutes but that can happen. For the rest of the games and what we have done, we have been the same team.

“For a long time, City haven’t won at Anfield. They beat us last year three times because they are a good, good team.

“They lost in the Carabao Cup but they are a good team. We know that. They were in the Champions League final and it is Liverpool. United and Liverpool have a lot of history.

“We are going to prepare for Hoffenheim and we will see what will happen at the end of the season.”

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