Newcastle's Jamaal Lascelles has a simple message for Pep Guardiola and Man City

Jamaal Lascelles has warned unbeaten Manchester City not to expect an 'easy' game at St James's Park.

Tuesday, 26th December 2017, 9:30 pm
Jamaal Lascelles

Newcastle United take on the Premier League leaders at St James’s Park tonight.

Pep Guardiola’s side are 13 points clear at the top of the table after winning all but one of their first 19 games.

City are odds-on favourites to claim another win.

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However, Lascelles and his team-mates, buoyed by Saturday’s 3-2 win over West Ham United, believe they can upset the odds at St James’s Park if they can play with the intensity and intelligence they did at the London Stadium.

“It’s 11 men v 11 men,” said captain Lascelles.

“They’re at the top of the table by a long way, but if we play with that same intensity, I think we’ll give them a tough game.”

Lascelles will be up against Sergio Aguero, who has scored 12 Premier League goals so far this season.

“Defensively, we know we’re going to have our hands full,” said 24-year-old Lascelles.

“We’ve got to be on it. We’re playing against world-class players.

“The manager (Rafa Benitez) will give us a gameplan whether it’s long ball, physical or whatever it is. Hopefully, we’ll stick to that and get something from the game.

“Teams have tried everything against them. High pressure, low pressure, five at the back, but they always seem to get through.

“It’s going to be a tough game. We know this, but it’s 11 men v 11 men.

“At the end of the day, we’ve got nothing to lose. They’ve got pressure on them, because they’re trying to win the title.

“We’ve got nothing to lose, really. They’re probably going to come here and think it’s going to be an easy game, but it’s not.

“We need to play like that and make it as difficult as we can and don’t let them play pretty football.

“We did the same against Arsenal at their place. We were physical and in their faces and they didn’t like it.

“I think we were pretty unlucky not to get something at the end. I think that’s the approach we might have to take.”

Meanwhile, City manager Guardiola is not motivated by the prospect of beating his own individual record for consecutive league victories.

Guardiola’s team are looking to win their 18th Premier League game in a row.

The 17 they have won in succession to date is already a record for all English League football – and also eclipses the 16 Guardiola achieved while in charge of Barcelona.

The next target for him might be to better the 19 he recorded as Bayern Munich manager, but he claims he does not want personal glory.

Guardiola said: “Since August, we have won a lot of games, and that is why we’re happy. Our lives are better when we win. It’s simple like that.

“I’m not going to sleep thinking about if I’m going to break a record of my Bayern Munich time. Nothing special. Focus on Newcastle. That is the best thing.”

City continued their winning run with a convincing 4-0 win over Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

It later emerged that Kevin De Bruyne – who was substituted after 74 minutes – had been suffering from illness in the days before the game.

Guardiola said: “He was sick. In the last two or three days, he was vomiting. He had fever and he lost two or three kilos, so the doctor told me.

“We decided ‘start, but when you’re tired, we’re going to change you’. That’s what happened, but he helped us playing 60-65 minutes.”

The Bournemouth victory also saw the return of captain Vincent Kompany after a three-game absence with a muscular injury.