Pep Guardiola delivers ‘incredible’ Newcastle United atmosphere verdict - and singles out five players
Man City boss Pep Guardiola was full of praise for Newcastle United and its supporters ahead of Sunday’s Premier League meeting.
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The Premier League champions visit Tyneside this weekend having recorded victories in their opening two games against West Ham United and Bournemouth.
Meanwhile, the Magpies have beaten Nottingham Forest before earning a goalless draw at Brighton and Hove Albion.
United were beaten 5-0 by City in their visit to the Etihad Stadium but Guardiola is reading too much into that result.
Instead, the former Barcelona boss is anticipating a “good test” in front of a Geordie-faithful who “know how they support the team”.
Guardiola praises Newcastle United fans and players
Guardiola said: “I saw the game again and we struggled for second balls. (Allan) Saint-Maximin, (Miguel) Almiron are exceptional players in terms of how direct and aggressive they are.
“Of course, there is Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton - (they’re a) physical team. (Kieran) Trippier is back. He is an important player with his balls in the channels.
“Eddie Howe in Bournemouth and now here always creates a real competitive team.
“Newcastle away is always an incredible environment. The fans... it’s one of the best stadiums since I have been here in England. I know how they support the team.
“It’s a good test for us.”
Newcastle’s improvements clear to see
Both clubs are the only two not to concede a goal in the top-flight so far this campaign.
United shipped nine goals without reply against City last season, however, are a much stronger outfit under Howe, particuarly at St James’ Park, having lost just twice since December.
“The numbers and the style of play speaks for itself,” Guardiola said when asked about Newcastle’s improvement. “They were in a difficult position last season when the new owners took the club. They then had an incredible run of games, winning a lot. Always difficult.
“Last game here is a little bit difficult. It was our first game after the defeat to Madrid. They were already safe in the Premier League.
“I would say our level of attention and concentration after the Madrid was high because there were just four games left for the Premier League and we gave everything.”