Kevin De Bruyne has revealed that Manchester City trained for just 10 minutes prior to facing Manchester United as manager Pep Guardiola had no idea how their opponents would play.
City went into the Manchester derby as favourites due to United’s indifferent form. But there was always the chance that Cristiano Ronaldo would turn it on and secure the points for the Red Devils. As it turned out, City controlled the game and pulled off a 2-0 triumph.
Eric Bailly’s seventh-minute own goal set the ball rolling before Bernardo Silva added a second just before half-time. There were no further goals but the ease in which City strolled through the game confirmed United’s troubles.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now under immense pressure, with rumours that Brendan Rodgers is waiting in the wings. City counterpart Guardiola has no such issues, with his side second in the standings and just three points adrift of Chelsea.
And it appears as though he was as confused as everyone over how Solskjaer would set his team up at Old Trafford. United appear to be a side full of talent but no direction.
And De Bruyne confirmed that the City chief decided to end training rather than work on specifics.
“The day before a game we usually train tactically, based on how the opponent play,” he told The MidMid Podcast. “Before United, Pep said: ‘We don’t know how they are going to play. We shall see’. And we stopped training after 10 minutes or so.
“Often Pep knows how the opponent is going to play. This time he didn’t know, so he didn’t know what to do.
“We have done what we always do, but he didn’t know beforehand if they would play with five at the back, with four, a diamond in the middle [or] with three upfront.”
De Bruyne team-mate ponders City exit
De Bruyne is always one of the first names on Guardiola’s team sheet. But, with such an array of talent at his disposal, it is inevitable that some players will become frustrated.
On Wednesday, Foot Mercato ran a report that winger Riyad Mahrez is eager to see more action. He is said to be considering his future in Manchester and could look to move on this winter.
The talanted wide man feels he has the ability to become an integral player elsewhere, just like he was at Leicester City.
The Algerian’s talent means two European giants are weighing up a bid, with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain linked.