Pep Guardiola highlighted Newcastle United’s threat against Manchester City - and singled out two Magpies stars.
Eddie Howe’s men were defeated 5-0 by the Premier League champions, who, with a brace from Raheem Sterling and goals from Aymeric Laporte and Rodri, moved a step closer to retaining their crown.
United actually started better inside the opening 15 minutes at the Etihad Stadium and missed a golden chance to take the lead through Chris Wood, who headed wide Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross.
City opened the scoring through Sterling on 19 minutes, and bar Wood’s offside goal and Callum Wilson one-v-one chance in the second-half, Newcastle struggled to be an attacking threat.
Although the Citizens always had the quality to overcome the Magpies, Guardiola was fully aware of the threat Newcastle would bring - particularly through Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin.
Speaking briefly after the game, Guardiola said: “Of course, difficult long balls with both Joelinton and the pace they have, especially (Allan) Saint-Maximin, but a perfect afternoon for me.”
Interestingly, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp also pointed out Newcastle’s plan to direct the ball long into Joelinton on the left.
In his programme notes, Guardiola was full of praise for Newcastle and their fanbase. Indeed, the Spaniard has always spoken positively about the Tyneside club after working under the late great Sir Bobby Robson at Barcelona.
Guardiola revealed he enjoyed facing the Magpies, which is perhaps no wonder when you look at his record. In 11 games managed against United, the 51-year-old has lost just once - a 2-1 defeat at St James’ Park in January 2019.
“Welcome to Newcastle fans, who are always so good whenever we have been to St James’s Park,” Guardiola said pre-match.
“Newcastle is an historic club, so this is a fixture I always look forward to. When a team comes into a game in good form, you always have to be aware.
“The Newcastle players are happy, feel good, trust the manager’s process and have confidence. That is a dangerous combination.”