Guardiola Expects Man City to be Pitch Perfect Against Fulham

Football - Friendly - Manchester City v Girona - Etihad Campus, Manchester, Britain - December 17, 2022 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts. (Reuters)
Football - Friendly - Manchester City v Girona - Etihad Campus, Manchester, Britain - December 17, 2022 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts. (Reuters)
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Guardiola Expects Man City to be Pitch Perfect Against Fulham

Football - Friendly - Manchester City v Girona - Etihad Campus, Manchester, Britain - December 17, 2022 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts. (Reuters)
Football - Friendly - Manchester City v Girona - Etihad Campus, Manchester, Britain - December 17, 2022 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts. (Reuters)

Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City will be prepared for whatever conditions come their way at Fulham on Saturday after training on long grass.

City, bidding for an unprecedented fourth successive English title, are renowned for a possession-based passing game suited to the slick, watered surfaces they are guaranteed at their Etihad Stadium home.

City manager Guardiola said his side benefited from a slower pitch when they won at Nottingham Forest last month because it led to the home team missing several excellent chances, AFP reported.

But many observers interpreted the Spaniard's words as a slight dig at Forest for not preparing a pitch conducive to free-flowing football and Guardiola expects more of the same when City, bidding to move two points clear of leaders Arsenal, kick off at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

"Here we are, one week left to give all we have," said Guardiola, whose side will be guaranteed the title if they win all three of their remaining league games.

"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 (Thursday) 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."

The Spaniard, comparing the situation to tennis, added: "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 (grass) or Roland Garros (where the French Open is played on clay) -- ask a tennis player, the speed of the ball is different."

City head to London trailing Arsenal by a point but with a game in hand.

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 match of the league season.



Teenagers Yamal and Cubarsi Included in Young Spain Squad for European Championship 

Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
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Teenagers Yamal and Cubarsi Included in Young Spain Squad for European Championship 

Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)

Spain is set to take a young squad to the European Championship, with teenagers Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi among the players picked by coach Luis de la Fuente on Monday.

Fermín López, the 21-year-old Barcelona forward, also was included in the list of 29 players announced by the coach, who will have to cut three names from the squad for the tournament in Germany. López has yet to make his debut with the national team.

“They have talent and motivation,” De la Fuente said. “They are very versatile players. Fermín will take a leap forward with this call-up. I hope that they will benefit and show all the potential that they have.”

Ayoze Pérez was another of the few surprises on the list, with the 30-year-old Real Betis forward getting his first call-up to the senior squad.

Other strikers included Atletico Madrid’s Álvaro Morata and Real Madrid’s Joselu, as well as the 16-year-old Yamal of Barcelona and 21-year-old Nico Williams of Athletic Bilbao.

Along with Cubarsi, the 17-year-old Barcelona center back, other defenders included Madrid’s Nacho Fernández and 38-year-old veteran Jesús Navas of Sevilla.

Forwards Marco Asensio of Paris Saint-Germain, Pablo Sarabia of Wolverhampton, Brais Méndez of Real Sociedad and Gerard Moreno of Villarreal were left out.

Veteran Atletico midfielder Koke Resurrección also didn’t make the squad.

Spain will be aiming for a record fourth European Championship. It was drawn into Group B with Italy, Albania and Croatia.

“It’s a very difficult group but we are prepared,” De la Fuente said. “We will be fighting to be among the title contenders in the end.”

Spain will play warmups against Andorra and Northern Ireland before heading to Germany.