Pep Guardiola was impressed with Manchester United’s aggression in the first half of the game with Manchester City on Sunday, saying it is something they can only do as Cristiano Ronaldo was missing.
But things ended badly for them, but United competed well with City in the first half, going in at the break 2-1 down but creating many chances against the champions.
Ronaldo was not involved on Sunday due to a hip issue, but Guardiola believes this could have been a blessing in disguise in terms of being able to show aggression.
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‘They make a 4-2-4, so aggressive for the mentality for Ralf. Without Cristiano they can do it,’ said Guardiola after the match. ‘They were incredibly aggressive and we struggled to deal with that.
‘I’d say in the first half we had more chances with the counter-attack than with possession.’
Things went very wrong in the second half for United, with Man City dominating possession and scoring twice more as they cantered to a 4-1 win.
Guardiola felt that they showed fatigue after the break, saying that the aggression showed in the first half cost them in the second half of the clash.
‘The first half they had more energy than the first half and the second half when they struggled to press it was the consequence of the first,’ said the Spaniard.
The Red devils manager Ralf Rangnick was pleased with his team’s first half performance, but conceded that City’s third goal killed them off.
‘I think we played a good, if not decent first half,’ he said. We were competitive. Difficult to concede an early goal. We came back, scored a brilliant goal ourselves then conceded another on the counter.
‘It was a very difficult game against one of the best teams in the world. We conceded a fourth in the last minute of the game. It is a difficult game that shows we have a long way to go to close that gap.
‘It was working. For us it was clear if we want a chance to win the game we have to do a lot of running. You have to be in attacking and hunting mode and we did that in the first half. The third goal killed us off in the end.’