De Bruyne reveals it took Man City just 15-minutes to perfect ‘two false-nine’ system that embarrassed Man Utd – The Sun

KEVIN DE BRUYNE revealed it took just 15 MINUTES to perfect the system that bamboozled Manchester United.

Pep Guardiola came up with a tactical masterstroke to thwart the Red Devils by playing with two ‘false No 9s’ at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were left chasing shadows in a disastrous first half as City raced into a 3-0 lead.

United finally got to grips with it after the break as the visitors slowed down — but the damage was done.

De Bruyne said City chief Guardiola only told his players about the formation on Tuesday morning — and they spent a quarter of an hour practising it.

Belgian maestro KDB, 28, admitted: “We did 15 minutes in the morning, that’s about it.

“On Monday we didn’t train that way, then Tuesday morning we did.

“But it’s not like we never did it before. We did it against teams who prefer to play man against man — Cardiff, United, Barcelona.

“I don’t think there is a lot of difference.

“Obviously they tried to play man against man in the midfield, so it’s a little bit difficult for us, because wherever we run they tried to follow us.”

Fellow midfielder Ilkay Gundogan admitted City’s players easily got to grips with the system.

The 29-year-old German said: “The players we have are quite smart, so they can adapt to different situations.

“Sometimes it’s necessary to just go on the pitch, not even do something with intensity, to get a feeling for the areas you have to be, the areas where your team-mates will be.
“That’s the main reason we do it.
“It’s not to make an extra effort on matchdays but to be on the pitch and get the feeling for the game.

“We all know the way we want to play, the kind of football, it’s just details. A lot of times things are similar, it’s just the opponent that changes stuff.

“It’s a quality we have, being able to adapt, but the manager is the main man to show us.”

Guardiola was wary of United’s counter-attacks, which were used to such devastating effect in their 2-1 win at the Etihad last month. The idea was that City would pass the ball more and restrict United’s chances to catch them out.

De Bruyne added: “We know their strong points and then you try to keep the mistakes to a minimum. On the counter, they’re very dangerous.

“I think they’re more dangerous when they play in that way than when they have the ball.

“We pressed them really well and kept the ball.

“We created lots of chances in the first half, the second half maybe a few but we did well.”

City are hot favourites to complete the job in three weeks’ time and book their place at Wembley for the third year running.

But United’s improved second-half show and a consolation goal from Marcus Rashford means nobody at the Etihad can take it for granted.

KDB added: “It’s not done because I don’t think the away-goals rule is there, so it’s possible. But I prefer to start with a 3-1 advantage.”

De Bruyne confirmed he had not suffered any lasting damage after feeling the full force of Victor Lindelof’s arm in the second half.

The midfield ace, who was substituted with ten minutes left, said: “I’m fine but my neck is a bit stiff.”

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