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Saturday, 29 February 2020

Guardiola expects Man City to suffer in tricky trip to Newport

Reuters , Friday 15 Feb 2019
Pep Guardiola
FILE PHOTO: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks on at Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - Jan 26, 2019. Reuters
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola predicts his side will "suffer" against fourth-tier Newport County in their FA Cup fifth round match on Saturday but has urged his players to adapt to a battered playing surface at Rodney Parade.

Michael Flynn's Newport, who are 15th in the League Two standings, have grabbed the headlines with their giant-killing run in the FA Cup, which includes wins over Leicester City and Middlesbrough.

"We are going to suffer because they are taller and stronger than us. In some areas they will be better than us," Guardiola told a news conference on Friday.

"We prepare with a lot of respect they have done incredible in the competition, beating Leicester and Boro. What they do, they do really well.

"They are ready, it's not the first time they've played away in a cup competition in a lower division. We will take this very seriously, I am sure about that."

City's multi-million pound squad, used to the pristine surfaces of their own Etihad Stadium and other Premier League venues, are set for a unique challenge at Rodney Parade, a ground which Newport share with two Welsh rugby union clubs.

Guardiola accepts it will be difficult to execute their typical pass-and-move football but said his title-winning squad is capable of finding solutions.

"I have seen vintage games here in the 70s and 80s and all the pitches were bad. Now, most of the pitches are perfect," he said.

"That's the big difference in England now, you can play in different ways, before it wasn't possible.

"Now the pitch you will see tomorrow (how it is) and we have to adapt, we have to play longer or quicker, we have to see. You don't win anything complaining. They are the owners and we have to adapt."

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