It is very clear that Pep Guardiola is not going to underestimate Newcastle United on Saturday night.
The Magpies head to the Etihad to face Manchester City at 8pm, much to the annoyance of the Spaniard. He is not happy about the scheduling of the game following their UEFA Super Cup exploits on Wednesday.
But the show must go on, as the Premier League champions prepare to face the division’s current leaders.
Eddie Howe’s side proved that they are going to be a force once again, as they look to build on what was a remarkably good 2022/23 campaign. Some pundits think this year will be even better, with Stuart Pearce shockingly backing the Magpies to win the title!
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Guardiola will hope that it is his players who have their hands on the trophy come May, but he is expecting an incredibly tough test on Saturday night.
Pep Guardiola thinks Newcastle are ‘here to stay’
Ahead of the game between Man City and Newcastle, Guardiola has spoke to the media. He has heaped praise on Howe’s side, and believes that they are now ‘here to stay’.
“We played against an extraordinary team that continue to perform really well since they bought players perfect for the way they play,” he said.
“The game against Aston Villa defined perfectly who they are.
“It’s a Champions League team. If you qualify for the Champions League it’s because you are a really good team. In the short time since they were taken over by Saudi Arabia, people had the feeling they are here to stay for a long time. Nobody believed it last season and looked at what happened.
“Eddie Howe has created a fantastic team for many reasons in transition, ball possession in the build-up and set pieces. It will be a massive test for us but we are prepared for that.”
Huge praise from Guardiola
Guardiola is extremely complimentary towards Newcastle United, describing them as an ‘extraordinary team’.
But the biggest praise is that he believes the Magpies are here to stay. He does not think there will be a dramatic drop off. He believes that Newcastle will now be a consistent presence near the top of the Premier League.
That is the hope, as Howe and co look to build on last season. Doing so well last time out was a real shock, so to replicate it will be a huge achievement.
Guardiola expects the game to be a ‘massive test’ for his Man City side, and it is one that they will hopefully not pass.