Kevin De Bruyne has revealed that Manchester City only trained for 10 minutes the day before their derby victory over Manchester United earlier this month.
City were a class above their opponents throughout the contest, with the 2-0 score-line actually flattering Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sorry United side.
Cityzens boss Pep Guardiola is known for his meticulous planning before big games but as De Bruyne revealed in an interview with the MidMid podcast (via Goal), this time was very different.
“The day before a game we usually train tactically, based on how the opponent plays,” he said.
“But before United, Pep said: ‘We don’t know how they are going to play. We shall see’. And we stopped training after 10 minutes or so.
“Often Pep knows how the opponent is going to play. This time he didn’t know, so he didn’t know what to do. We have done what we always do, but he didn’t know beforehand if they would play with five at the back, or with four, or with a diamond in the middle, or with three up front.”
In the end United opted for a back three, although it resembled more of a back five for most of the match with City able to pin wing-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw into their own half.
Solskjaer also went for two forwards, Mason Greenwood and Cristiano Ronaldo, but they were largely passengers in a game in which the Red Devils really struggled.
The result and performance heaped further pressure on the United boss, leaving them nine points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea with just 11 games played. Meanwhile, the victory lifted City up to second, only three points off the west Londoners’ early pace.