“Stopped Training After 10 Minutes” – How City Prepared For The Manchester Derby

Man City's Kevin De Bruyne in action with Man Utd's Fred.

Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Manchester United were well and truly outplayed in front of a full house at Old Trafford by their ‘noisy’ neighbours.

Manchester City went ahead within seven minutes after Eric Bailly turned the ball into his own net. The visitors maintained their dominance, adding the second goal just before the break through Bernardo Silva.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tried to change his approach in the second-half, subbing off Bailly for Jadon Sancho, but in vain, as City remained comfortable in and out of possession for large parts of the match.

It seems the only struggle Pep Guardiola’s men had before and during the Manchester derby was guessing how Solskjaer’s side were going to play.

The Norwegian was forced to tinker with his style after the 5-0 humiliation at the hands of Liverpool. United used a back three at Tottenham Hotspur, but changed to a back four against Atalanta after Raphael Varane’s injury mid-game.

As such, City’s coaching staff were left wondering how United would set up. Kevin De Bruyne has revealed that Guardiola stopped training after just 10 minutes the day before the derby, as a result.

“The day before a game we usually train tactically, based on how the opponent play,” the Belgian midfielder told the MIDMID podcast on Youtube.

“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 5 at the back. With four. A diamond in the middle. With 3 upfront.”

It doesn’t bode well for the under pressure United gaffer and his coaching staff that City’s performance – described as a ‘calm annihilation’ by Gary Neville – wasn’t affected by a lack of preparation.