Friday 4 March 2016

Manchester City Defence Should Be Pep Guardiola Priority- Stuart Pearce

Former City manager Stuart Pearce believes that Pep Guardiola's first job at the Etihad Stadium should be to sort out Manchester City's leaky defence after their frailties were exposed again in Wednesday's 3-0 defeat by Liverpool.

The defeat keeps Manuel Pellegrini's side 10 points adrift of leaders Leicester City, and they are now level with rivals Manchester United and only a point ahead of West Ham. The problems are piling up after consecutive Premier League defeats to Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool, and their defensive issues are a particular cause for concern. City have now conceded 31 goals this season their highest total after 27 games since 2010.

Pearce who spoke with Sky Sports said “I wasn't surprise by Wednesday's result because, coming out of the weekend, Liverpool had something to prove in front of their own fans and they had a bit of fire in their bellies. Quite often that is the case. One team will win one fixture and then the other one will spring up and win the other, so I wasn't surprised that Liverpool won. From Man City's point of view, though, they have struggled defensively for a lot of the season. Vincent Kompany being missing for too many matches has been a real problem, and they've struggled for consistency as a result.  I feel as though it's a quality issue as well, I look at Dimechelis in the heart of the defence. He's played a fair few games this season but at the age of 35 he's probably had his better years behind him. I've seen him being pulled around far too easily in matches. His lack of pace has been a problem. So with City and the new manager coming in next year, you need someone alongside Kompany and you need to make sure Kompany plays more games than he has done this year. If that isn't the case and you can't guarantee that, then all of a sudden you might have to look to go and strengthen”.

City will need to improve quickly if they are to have any chance of mounting a serious title challenge in the final weeks of the season, but Pearce expects incoming manager Guardiola to focus his summer recruitment on bringing in defensive reinforcements. He said “I've been a defender all my life so I would say this but I think you have to have a solid defence. They've got one of the best goalkeepers in the world at Manchester City, but they need to make sure that the centre of your defence and defensive midfield are strong enough that you're not going to concede too many goals. If you don't do that, all of a sudden it erodes what you're doing at the other end of the pitch. Now a new manager has to come in and say: 'Right, how do we go from third or fourth in the league to competing for the Premier League and the Champions League? It's easy to talk about it but to actually deliver it they might need to add three or four new players into that squad that give them a touch of leadership in the team as well”.

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