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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Pep Guardiola warns Manchester City to expect 'tough' game against Huddersfield

City needed a late goal to beat Sunday's opponents away last year and then could only manage a goalless draw against them on the day they were presented with the Premier League trophy in May

Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola saw his side open their 2018/19 Premier League campaign with a win at Arsenal. AFP
Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola saw his side open their 2018/19 Premier League campaign with a win at Arsenal. AFP

Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players of the dangers of facing Huddersfield Town so early in the season.

The champions, who opened their title defence with a comfortable win at Arsenal last weekend, host the Terriers at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

City needed a late goal to beat David Wagner's men away last year and then could only manage a goalless draw against them on the day they were presented with the Premier League trophy in May.

"Last season was tough, those games," City manager Guardiola said. "They defended so well.

"They are so tough - physicality, defensively strong, good set-pieces, good throw-ins, good counter-attack, good high pressing.

"It was complicated last season and I imagine quite similar games.

"In this part of the season, all the teams, especially those with a lot of players at the World Cup, you need time - one month or a month and a half.

"In this period, these kind of games are so dangerous for the players. Games like this - and Wolves, Cardiff, Fulham - I prefer these teams in October/November.

"In this period the contenders, the big teams, history says always drop points. I remember last season we dropped points against Everton, and Bournemouth we won in the 96th minute.

"Always in this period games are so complicated. I guess it will be on Sunday."

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Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has a lot of respect for Huddersfield and the work of their manager David Wagner, his fellow German.

Gundogan said: "I know him from Dortmund, he was manager of the second team when I was there. He is a very nice guy and I really like him. He's a very good manager.

"The first game wasn't that good for them. I hope for them they are going to stay in the Premier League but obviously I hope it is after Sunday they start [winning]."

City will be without playmaker Kevin de Bruyne, who was ruled out for three months after suffering a knee injury in training this week.

The return to fitness of David Silva after a minor knock is therefore timely but 18-year-old Phil Foden, impressive in the Community Shield earlier this month, could also get more opportunities.

Guardiola said: "It is not easy to replace Kevin but we'll try to do our best."

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