Mens Team

Guardiola praises Laporte and Dias partnership

SO CLOSE: Pep Guardiola can't believe it as City almost add to our first-half lead
Pep Guardiola saluted another commanding display from City centre backs Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias in the wake of Saturday’s important 1-0 Premier League win at Sheffield United.

The central defensive pair provided yet more compelling evidence of their impressive understanding and rapport, helping the City back line restrict Chris Wilder’s side to just one shot on target at Bramall Lane.

Though Dias only joined the Club late in September, the Portuguese star’s partnership with Frenchman Laporte has already garnered widespread acclaim.

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And after another fine showing from the pair in south Yorkshire, the boss said the duo and the rest of their defensive colleagues were making a vital contribution to the collective cause.

But given City’s demanding schedule, Guardiola also revealed he was considering making changes for Tuesday’s return to Champions League action against Olympiakos to keep his players fresh.

“They (Dias and Laporte) played the last games, and they are doing really, really well. It’s so important for us,” Guardiola declared.


                        PASS MASTER: Aymeric Laporte looks to get City motoring
PASS MASTER: Aymeric Laporte looks to get City motoring

"It’s good. Dias has settled really well, he gives us personality and charisma in the back-line.

“Both are playing really well. We struggled a lot last year not having two centre-backs who gave us that consistency.

“We had to rotate a lot, but we need everyone, it's impossible to play both every game.

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“But the reason we conceded just one chance isn't just them… everyone made an incredible contribution.

“We are delighted with how they are doing but against Olympiakos, I have to think about making changes and rotating the team. It’s a lot of games. Five games in 16 days.”

The Bramall Lane win rounded off a satisfying seven days on the road following our draw at West Ham last Saturday and midweek European triumph away at Marseille.


                        TAKE THAT: Kyle Walker fires home to give City a first-half lead
TAKE THAT: Kyle Walker fires home to give City a first-half lead

However, Guardiola said there were also still areas for the side to improve on – not least in becoming more ruthless in front of goal.

City created several excellent openings against the Blades, but we were unable to add to Kyle Walker’s first half strike.

“It was our third game in seven days, away all of them. We played with a good tempo you need against Sheffield United,” the manager added.

“If you don’t, they punish you in transitions as they are so strong. First half we played really well, we created chances, but we struggled to score.

“When you arrive in the second half with just a 1-0 lead anything can happen. They arrived down the side and showed patience and started making crosses. They had one clear chance in 90 minutes, so that is so good for us and how we defended.

“But when we arrive in the final third, we are not clinical enough.

“Nine goals in five games is not enough but I understand completely why for many reasons.”

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