Pep Guardiola gives his verdict on Newcastle United after Manchester City win

Pep Guardiola labelled Newcastle United a “top, top side” after Manchester City’s 4-3 win at St James’s Park.

Guardiola’s newly-crowned Premier League champions, given a guard of honour before the game, twice went behind. However, the brillance of Ferrance Torres – who scored a hat-trick – ensured they left Tyneside with all three points.

Guardiola, however, praised 16th-placed Newcastle after the game, the last at the stadium to be played behind behind closed doors without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“It was a brilliant game for both sides,” said Guardiola, who handed 35-year-old goalkeeper Scott Carson his City debut. “Unfortunately, there were no people in the stadium. (Newcastle are) an incredibly tough opponent, like in the last years, and, always, we struggle a lot to beat Newcastle here, even at home.

“They’re so physically strong, and they defend so deep with many, many players and after that, they have clever runs, (Allan) Saint-Maximin and Joelinton and of course (Miguel) Almiron and (Joe) Willock, so a top, top side.

“Yes, we conceded three goals from set-pieces, but I would say it’s normal after winning the Premier League, and being distracted for one or two days and then just one training session, this normally happens.”

Guardiola told BBC Sport: “We play against 10 players in the box, they defend so deep.

"They’re so, so fast on the counter. A tough, tough opponent. Even with that we attacked good in the pockets but we conceded three goals in set pieces and we have to improve that."

Pep Guardiola and Steve Bruce.

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