Pep Guardiola promises Manchester City won’t be left ‘high and dry’ by Fulham

Pep Guardiola has revealed Manchester City have been training on long and dry grass this week in preparation for Saturday’s trip to Fulham.

Title-chasing City’s possession-based passing game is suited to the slick, watered surface they usually play on at the Etihad Stadium.

City boss Guardiola claimed his team benefited from a slower pitch when they won at Nottingham Forest last month because it caused the hosts to spurn some gilt-edged chances.

However, that was widely perceived as a gentle dig at Forest for not preparing a quicker track and he appears to be expecting Fulham to take a similar approach this weekend.

“Here we are, one week left to give all we have,” said Guardiola, whose side will win a fourth successive Premier League if they win their three remaining games.

“It’s 12.30, a sunny day in London. I don’t know about the grass, last season it was so so high and dry.

“We have to adapt like with Nottingham, try to fight back with three points.

“Yesterday we trained part of the session with a dry, high (grass) to feel it, to adapt, and after we went to another normal pitch.

“It’s a massive difference, massive. It’s another game, another game. You have to adapt.”

Guardiola compared the situation to tennis.

The Spaniard said: “There have been a few games – not many because here in England, of the 12 months 10 are winter and it’s raining!

“But when we arrive at the early and last games of the season, it is something we have to think about.

“I saw the forecast, it’s a sunny day in London so you have to adapt in that situation, play in another rhythm and way. The passes must be stronger, faster, quicker. The control must attack the ball more.

“It’s completely different, it’s not basketball. It’s like Wimbledon or Roland Garros – ask a tennis player, the speed of the ball is different.”

City head to London trailing Arsenal by a point at the top of the table but, significantly, having played a game fewer.

The Gunners then face Manchester United on Sunday before wrapping up their campaign against Everton. City play their game in hand at Tottenham in midweek and then face West Ham in their final game.


While the title race is Guardiola’s immediate priority, City are due to play in a revamped 32-team Club World Cup in 2025.

That tournament was in the news this week as global players’ union Fifpro and the World Leagues Association threatened legal action because of its impact on an already congested calendar.

“One day they will sit down with each other and realise that there are 365 days in a year, no more,” said Guardiola when asked his opinion at a press conference.

“We can change that? We can try but maybe it doesn’t work!”

Asked if he could one day envisage himself taking on an administrative role to tackle such issues, Guardiola said: “Absolutely not. I don’t like ties. I like to wear sneakers.

“I don’t like meetings or official dinners or this kind of stuff. Maybe I will give advice.”


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