Ghana's No. 1

Pep Guardiola names two unsung heroes for Man City in Manchester United rout

Published on: 02 October 2022

Pep Guardiola singled out two Manchester City players who played key roles in the derby victory over Manchester United, while also praising a hidden aspect of Kevin De Bruyne's season.

City were 6-3 winners against United on Sunday, with Erling Haaland scoring a third hat-trick for the club in just eight Premier League appearances, and Phil Foden also taking home a match ball with a first career hat-trick.

Naturally, the post-match questioning was all around Haaland, but Guardiola was keen to shine a light on both Jack Grealish and Ilkay Gundogan, who allowed their attacking teammates to shine.

Grealish was brilliant even though he didn't trouble the scoresheet, playing roles in the build-up of many City moves to keep United penned back in their own half. Gundogan, who replaced the injured Rodri in holding midfield, was also influential in keeping possession for City in a game they dominated.

So when Guardiola was asked about Haaland's impact, he picked out both players for praise, telling Viaplay: "Not just him. Look at Jack Grealish today, how good he played. Kevin, and Gundogan - come back in his position as holding midfielder that he started years ago.

"They're humble and they follow us, said 'okay let's try to go and do it again after four or five years of success'. I'm very pleased. It's not about winning or losing, of course we want to win all the time. The way in the two or three days how they train, how they focus. It's good."

Guardiola also identified a trait in De Bruyne, who he says has allowed Haaland to take the role as City's biggest star without any complaints.

He explained: "It is a team sport. I understand the highlights for Erling. It's normal, perfect. One of the most incredible things is Erling comes here, he has the highlights, and Kevin is our best, most important player, and he accepts it. The ego they leave at the side and help each other. A team sport is like that.

"They want to be better when it happens. Erling says he adapts quickly and jokes a lot. That's good enough. After, try to do your best. Be who you are. The rest, sometimes win, sometimes lose. When you finish the game, try to finish the game and go to the locker room and say I did everything. I tried my best. With that, it's enough. No more than that."

Speaking to Sky Sports, Guardiola added: "In general was really good, how aggressive we were without the ball. They could not play. When they have Lisandro [Martinez] and Bruno [Fernandes] and [Christian] Eriksen they have quality as we saw a little bit in the second half. In the first half we were there in that third, after the quality of the players we have up front made the difference.

"[City's desire] happened from day one we're here. This is non-negotiable. Win or lose but the effort and desire and help each other. Many things we can do better and some players are still not good today and have to improve."


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