Pep Guardiola wants Man City's defenders to be praised like attackers

Pep Guardiola insists Man City’s defenders should be praised as much as his attackers – as the Spaniard reveals his ‘secret’ to defending ahead of Sunday’s clash with Chelsea 

  • Pep Guardiola hails his back line, saying his key players ‘enjoy defending’
  • The Man City boss is impressed with how Jack Grealish ignores heavy treatment 
  • DOMINIC KING: I don’t understand what football is anymore – It’s All Coming Up

While Manchester City are famed for flair and firepower, it’s worrying for rivals that their excellent defensive record is also set to continue.

No team has given up fewer goals than City in a season since 2020 and they are again the meanest team in the division, conceding eight in their first 11 matches.

Pep Guardiola is used to receiving compliments about attacking stars Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland but wants to spread the love to his defenders ahead of Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.

‘Defending well is always key. They have credit and respect from us but outside it is more attractive to give it to the strikers,’ said the City boss.

‘I have a feeling now that we have defenders who enjoy defending. When you see Ruben Dias, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Nathan Ake and all of them, they enjoy blocking shots. It’s a huge talent and we have many who can do it.

Pep Guardiola wants to spread the love to his defenders ahead of their trip to Chelsea

Guardiola hailed Ruben Dias and John Stones among those who liked defending in his side

‘We tell them how important to be solid. Against Young Boys, we didn’t concede one shot. Normally if you are Treble winner, you stop doing the uncomfortable things and then you start giving up chances.

‘It’s the whole team who do it. Erling is the first one and everyone needs the commitment to do it. It it is one of the secrets, the secret maybe.

City have kept six clean sheets in a row against Chelsea and won four of them 1-0.

Jack Grealish will hope to be the difference-maker as he tries to fight off the challenge of Jeremy Doku for his starting spot on the left.

Guardiola says he’s impressed by how Grealish is trying to ignore the heavy treatment he gets.

‘He is a strong guy. When he’s kicked and the referee does nothing, stand up. The next one, stand up. I told him if he can still run, Ok run. After the game we can complain and he can go the ice bath, rest and recover for the next match.

‘He is really brave. His game is to feel contact and we are pleased he is playing really good. The mentality is there. He was decisive for so many things last year.

‘Sometimes he reacts (to being fouled) – it’s not easy. But emotionally he shows good sense. He is one of the most beloved guys we have in the locker room.’

Guardiola is impressed by how Jack Grealish is trying to ignore the heavy treatment he gets

Man City have kept six clean sheets in a row against Chelsea ahead of today’s league meeting

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