Pep Guardiola defends Rafa Benitez's tactics and reveals how he will combat them

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has defended Rafa Benitez's defensive tactics and is confident his side can adapt to them.

Friday, 31st August 2018, 2:14 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 2:26 pm
Pep Guardiola has defended Rafa Benitez's tactics

Guardiola's champions are preparing to welcome Newcastle to the Etihad Stadium as the Magpies continue to search for their first win of the new campaign.

Back-to-back defeats against Chelsea and Nottingham Forest have led to criticism of Benitez's tactics in some quarters, with calls for the Spaniard to opt for a more attacking outlook.

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Newcastle started with five at the back against Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea and - while the move was a surprise to many - it was not to Guardiola, who saw Benitez do similar against his Manchester City side last season.

Benitez staunchly defended his approach following the defeat to Chelsea and Guardiola has now backed-up the claims of the Newcastle boss, claiming that such tactics are used purely because he sees it as the best way to gain points.

"He did it against us away last season," said the City boss, speaking at his pre-match press conference.

"I haven’t spoken with Rafa so I don’t know if he will do the same. He does it because he believes it is the best way to get points and we are going to adapt."

While five at the back can be difficult to break down, Guardiola won't spend too much time sweating over Newcastle's shape.

Instead, the ex-Barcelona chief feels that the best way to combat whichever approach Newcastle employ will simply be for City to focus on themselves.

"We spend more time on what we have to do in ourselves because at the end we can just imagine what our opponents our going to do but we don’t know 100 per cent.

"Against Huddersfield we expected them to play with 5 at the back and they played with four."