Media Watch

De Bruyne reveals 15-minute derby master plan

Kevin De Bruyne has lifted the lid on how a simple, brief training session undid United in Tuesday’s derby plus who was City’s best-ever January signing?

Just two of the catches in today’s media trawl along with several others  - not to mention a few we had to throw back into the ocean…

READ: Where can I watch Villa v City?

More derby reaction

Metro: De Bruyne reveals 15-minute tactical derby plan

Matthew Nash writes: "Kevin De Bruyne has revealed Manchester City spent just 15 minutes fine-tuning the tactics which dismantled Manchester United in a devastating first half at Old Trafford.

"Manager Pep Guardiola deployed Bernardo Silva as a false nine, with strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus left on the bench, for Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg.

"Silva ran the show from a deeper position, scoring once and having a hand in the other two as City raced into a 3-0 lead inside 38 minutes.

‘We did 15 minutes on it in the morning, that’s about it,’ said midfielder De Bruyne, who claimed the players were only told of the team shape on the day of the game.

‘It’s not like we never did it before — we did it sometimes against teams that prefer to play man-against-man — Cardiff, United, in Barcelona away we did it the first year with Pep, so we’ve done it a couple of times.

‘With Bernardo dropping it is four against three in midfield, so they have to choose what they do — if they put their defender up there is more space behind and, if not, Bernardo is free.

‘I think overall we played well. The second half they tried to put a bit more pressure on us and we made one mistake and they scored from it.

‘I don’t think they had a lot of chances and we should have scored more but 3-1 is a good advantage. We know it is not over.’

Western Telegraph: ‘First half was a pleasure to play in’ says Gundogan

Press Association report: "Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan believes Manchester City could have been even better in their first-half demolition of Manchester United.

"Pep Guardiola’s tactics, playing Bernardo Silva as a false nine, completely confused their hosts and as a result they were 3-0 up in a dominant opening 45 minutes.

"While United pulled one back after the break City were lauded for their performance but Gundogan said although they were good they could have been better.

“Especially in the first half, it was a special performance,” he said.

“We created so much and could have scored even more but going in at half- time leading by three gave us a very good feeling.

“I felt on the pitch we could have done even better. Converting our chances better, maybe put a little bit more on top of that, but it was great.

“I don’t want to complain about our first-half performance, it was a joy to watch.

“That was important for the first leg, because it feels great to go home for the second leg with this result.

“It’s a great score for us, but it’s Man United so it’s not done yet. If we play similar, then I don’t think they will have any chance.”

Transfer gossip

OK – as we repeatedly state – Pep has said ‘nothing doing’ in January, but that won’t stop the gossip…

Daily Star: City target Madrid duo?

Ollie Salt speculates: “Manchester City are plotting a double transfer raid on Real Madrid in the January transfer window, with Isco and Eder Militao reportedly on Pep Guardiola ’s winter shopping list.

“It has been a miserable first half of the season for the reigning Premier League champions, who look all but certain to lose their crown to Liverpool after falling 14 points behind the current leaders this term.

“They still have one foot in a third successive Carabao Cup final, nevertheless, as well as a place in the Champions League last 16 and FA Cup fourth round.

“There remains plenty for Guardiola’s side to play for in the 2019/20 campaign, and reports in Spain suggest they want to bring in two Madrid stars to boost their chances of silverware.

“According to El Desmarque, City are eyeing up both Isco and Militao this month.

“The former is regarded as an ideal replacement for departing playmaker David Silva, who is set to call time on his decade-long stay at the Etihad this summer.

“Even when he returns to full fitness, Guardiola is still on the hunt for another central defender to bolster his backline.

“The Catalan is therefore interested in luring Militao away from the Bernabeu, too, and the player is said to be open to the idea of a January move.

“Militao only completed a £42m move from Porto in the summer, but Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane is set on Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos as his first-choice centre-back pairing.”

African Player of the Year reaction

CGTN report: Mahrez gets started on 2020 award

The report reads: "Manchester City's Algerian forward Riyad Mahrez has congratulated Liverpool's Senegalese forward Sadio Mane for winning the 2019 African Player of the Year Award.

"Mane was announced winner of the coveted title in Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday in a ceremony attended by top football officials and legends including FIFA President Gianni Infantino and CAF's Ahmad Ahmad.

'Congratulations to Sadio for his trophy well deserved… and sorry I couldn't come but I had to start scoring for the 2020 trophy. See you next year inch' Allah.' Mahrez wrote on Twitter.

NUMBER 2 : Riyad Mahrez rounds David De Gea after a lovely pass from Bernardo to double City's advantage
NUMBER 2 : Riyad Mahrez rounds David De Gea after a lovely pass from Bernardo to double City's advantage

Retro transfer windows

talkSPORT: Laporte was City’s best January buy

Oliver Danway writes:"The Frenchman signed for a club-record £57m from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 and it has turned out to be a brilliant piece of business.

"Laporte has been an imperious figure for City under Pep Guardiola, playing an instrumental role in their treble-winning season last term.

"Injury this season has hampered his progress, but for us he pips Edin Dzeko as City’s best January signing, despite the Bosnia striker also winning two titles at the club and scoring 72 goals in 189 appearances."

More gossip and rumour tomorrow…