Men's Team

Pep: League form perfect preparation for Champions League opener

Pep: League form perfect preparation for Champions League opener
Pep Guardiola has urged his City squad to build on the winning template we have established over the past three games as the focus switches to the Champions League.

Saturday’s hard-fought 1-0 success at Leicester City was our third Premier League win in a row and lifted us up into fourth place in the table, a point off top spot.

Successive victories against Norwich, Arsenal and Leicester have been the perfect response to an opening day defeat at Tottenham.

And, with thoughts now turning to Wednesday’s opening Champions League group game at home to RB Leipzig, Guardiola says he has been heartened by the collective commitment and mindset of the squad.

“The last three weeks was so good. The way we trained was a little bit of a surprise after what we achieved last season,” Pep revealed.

“The commitment of everyone was excellent. That’s why we trained really well and the results against Arsenal, Norwich and today proved that.

“The other side is that it is our sixth season together. We know each other quite well, except Jack (Grealish).

“They know exactly what we want to do, what we want to practice, and I think the mechanism is much better.

“That’s why, the way we trained after Tottenham, we started long weeks together for the first time, I saw many, many good things that the results are here.

“Hopefully we can continue with this mentality and raise the standards through the training sessions. That’s the key point.

“When you improve your habits in the standards, your low moments of the game are minimal.

“That’s what we have to work on in the next weeks.”

WATCH: Leicester 0-1 City: Extended highlights

Further reflecting on the first month, Guardiola detailed the challenges he had faced in seeking to mould the side for the preparation of our title defence.

And he compared Saturday’s trip to Leicester with the scenario going into last month’s Community Shield clash with the Foxes, which we lost 1-0.

“As a dream as manager, you have time to work a little bit,” Guardiola added.

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“When we played the Community Shield, we played with six or seven first team players [who had been back] for two weeks.

“Against Tottenham the English players and Brazilian players and Portuguese players were not able to play because they were on holiday and they need time.

“Right now our job as a manager is almost over on the training pitch because we don’t have time. It is recover and prepare.”

Saturday’s game also made it three successive clean sheets with City’s rear-guard outstanding once again.

Our iron-clad defence was one of the key factors in last term’s title success and the boss was keen to highlight the role of our defence after Saturday’s triumph at the King Power Stadium.

Aymeric (Laporte) is playing incredibly well. Ruben (Dias) like last season with John  (Stones) and I know Nathan (Ake) is going to happen. It’s a contribution of everyone,” Guardiola asserted.

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“The real reason we won the Premier League last season is because we were incredibly solid. We made, I don’t know how many clean sheets.

“We haven’t conceded much [this season]. Against Norwich we had one shot on target [against] and against Arsenal it was the same. On Saturday we had a little bit more.

“Against Leicester it is not easy to do it. If you are able to concede few chances, like we did today, we are going to win games.”

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