Belfast Telegraph

Pep Guardiola accepts Manchester City cannot maintain red-hot form

Pep Guardiola is anticipating a dip in Manchester City's form sooner or later.

But the City boss is convinced his side are fully equipped to ensure any downturn can be overcome.

City have made an exhilarating start to the season and top the Premier League with 22 points from a possible 24, scoring 29 goals in their eight games.

Recent weeks have seen them rack up big wins against Liverpool (5-0), Watford (6-0), Crystal Palace (5-0) and Stoke (7-2). In addition they also beat champions Chelsea last month and have opened their Champions League campaign with three wins from three.

The plaudits are pouring in but Guardiola accepts his team will come unstuck at some point.

"That's going to happen," he said. "We are in October. We cannot expect to finish the season like we have done in the last month when we won all the games. It's impossible in football in the high level.

"But I want to see how we are going to react in that moment when we drop points.

"We will see how strong we are because teams always show in the bad moments.

"I'm optimistic because the way we reacted at 3-2 against Stoke was so good."

City's attack may have captured much of the attention this season but their defence has also been impressive.

Centre-backs John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have formed a solid partnership in the absence of captain Vincent Kompany through injury.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Guardiola highlighted the performances of Otamendi, who has shown signs of considerable improvement this term.

Guardiola said: "He is one of the players with the strongest mentality I have met in my life.

"He's a guy who just wants to learn in terms of ball possession and he was always strong in the air.

"He really wins duels, which is especially necessary here in England, and he has the courage to play. Even when he makes mistakes it doesn't matter.

"I'm really impressed with the level he has and I'm so happy with him."

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