Pep Guardiola still expecting tough test despite Saints’ mauling by Leicester
Southampton play Manchester City twice in five days.
Pep Guardiola is not counting on Southampton suffering any kind of hangover when they visit Manchester City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
The Saints face back-to-back trips to the Etihad Stadium in the Cup and the Premier League in the next five days, fixtures that would probably be far down their wishlist on the back of Friday’s 9-0 home loss to Leicester.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side capitulated in driving rain at St Mary’s after an early red card for Ryan Bertrand, with Jamie Vardy’s stoppage-time penalty equalling the Premier League record for the heaviest defeat.
But with both managers expected to make a number of changes, Guardiola will not be altering his plans based on that result.
“It’s not easy but they are incredible professionals,” he said when asked how Southampton might respond.
“The manager will be sad for a moment, for one night, but after that they have to move forward. They will try to do their best, so I am not going to judge them on that or prepare to play against them based on what happened against Leicester.
“It’s a little bit strange. Red card, first goal, and then every time (Leicester) arrive in the first minutes, goal, goal.
“We know the team Leicester are. It was not easy. But it’s different competitions, the Carabao Cup and the Premier League. And we will try (to prepare) to face good teams.”
Guardiola will have at least one change enforced upon him on Tuesday with Fernandinho suspended following his late red card in the 3-0 win over Aston Villa, but he was already expected to bring in a number of youngsters and fringe players.
Teenage defenders Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis could get their chance given City’s shortages at the back, while Angelino will hope to start at left-back after coming off the bench on Saturday.
With Rodri sidelined as well as Fernandinho, Guardiola will have to decide whether to retain Ilkay Gundogan in midfield or rest the Germany international.
If he plays, Gundogan said he will be prepared for a Southampton response.
It’s not easy but they are incredible professionals Pep Guardiola on Saints
“I don’t think they [Southampton] will be full of confidence, so they might be defending really deep, with a lot of passion,” he said.
“We need to be prepared, we need to be ready to play them a couple of times in a row. The first time is already a final, obviously we want to go through the next round.
“It’s not going to be easy, especially for their last result. They will probably want to prove to everyone that they are not a bad team.
“I think it’s going to be even more difficult, but we are going to work hard to get the two wins.”