Manchester City vs Swansea City - Guardiola: Swansea one of the toughest games left

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2017 by PA

Pep Guardiola believes relegation-threatened Swansea are now a formidable proposition under Paul Clement.

Swansea have climbed out of the Premier League's bottom three with three wins from four games since former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich assistant manager Clement took charge last month.

One of the those victories came away against title-chasing Liverpool, and Manchester City boss Guardiola is expecting a difficult afternoon as the Swans visit the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

He said: "I am really impressed. I saw their game against Liverpool and I have started to watch the game against Southampton.

"I tried to discover the way to attack them and - wow - I couldn't find it. It's so complicated.

"When I see their games I can see his hands on it. They are so well organised.

"There is no space in the middle. When you go and attack outside they defend really well in the box. Then they have long balls to the striker with (Fernando) Llorente. They have quality players for the counter-attack.

"It will be a really tough game, one of the toughest until the end of the season.

"Now they are in a good moment, won three of the last four but is also the way they play. They won at Anfield and beat Southampton, big teams. It will be really tough but hopefully we can win two in a row."

City have started to show signs of getting back to their best after an inconsistent spell. Since losing 4-0 at Everton last month City have been impressive in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham and won convincingly at Crystal Palace - in the FA Cup - and West Ham.

Their attack has looked potent with the speedy forward trio of Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane particularly catching the eye.

Guardiola has been pleased with the forwards but also recognises the defence has tightened up.

He said: "The last two games we have made a clean sheet. I think it's easier to solve the problems in our box than the opponents'.

"The most difficult thing in football is to score a goal. That's why the guys who score the goals are the most valued players in terms of salaries for example or the reputation in the media.

"I think it's easier to concede few and this is so important for our stability."

Guardiola is still to decide who will play in goal having preferred Willy Caballero to usual first choice Claudio Bravo for the past two games.

He said: "I felt that Willy should play. Of course confidence is important but I still have the same confidence in Willy and Bravo. I'll choose depending on how I see them."

Jack Cork says Swansea's mentality has changed for the better since Paul Clement arrived at the club.

Clement became Swansea's third manager this season at the start of January after Francesco Guidolin and Bob Bradley had paid the price for poor results.

The appointment of Carlo Ancelotti's assistant at Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich was considered a considerable risk by many commentators.

Clement's only previous spell in management was an eight-month stint at Derby, which ended abruptly in February 2016.

But three wins in four games has lifted Swansea from the bottom of the Premier League to two clear points of the relegation zone.

"We looked good in certain periods of the first half of the season," Cork said.

"We always seemed to do all right, but we conceded the first goal and then our heads dropped.

"But it looks a bit different now. Look at the Palace, Liverpool and Southampton games when we conceded, we managed to push on.

"We're not giving up and we need to keep pushing."

Swansea's revival will certainly be tested at a ground where they have yet to collect a Premier League point.

The Welsh club have lost their previous five games at the Etihad Stadium, and City's 4-0 midweek demolition of West Ham in east London suggested that Pep Guardiola's side are back on track after some indifferent form.

But Swansea produced a shock win at Liverpool two weeks ago - their first Anfield league success - and aim to draw encouragement from that result.

"We did it at Liverpool in our last away game and it shouldn't be any different going to City," said Cork, who has taken over the Swansea armband in recent weeks with club captain Leon Britton absent.

"We need the points and we won't be going there for anything else.

"We should be confident going to Man City and we want to put in the same performance that we did at Liverpool, because we need to keep winning."

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