Pep Guardiola puts Man City players on alert in Crvena Zvezda win
Pep Guardiola is back - and Manchester City are all the better for it.
The results will tell you that the Catalan was not missed as he spent the early part of his recovery from back surgery in Barcelona, with the team picking up wins over Sheffield United and Fulham. When he hobbled back to take charge against West Ham, he walked into the dressing room at half-time ready to congratulate his players on a half well played to find them seething that they were behind on the scoreboard.
Guardiola had spoken of the importance ahead of this game of winning home games as the best route to qualification for the Champions League knockouts, and also mentioned his proud record here at the Etihad; if you factor in that Mikel Arteta actually took charge of the 2-1 home defeat to Lyon in 2018, the City boss has never actually lost at home at this stage of the competition. Such things matter as City look to take the next step in Europe and use their first-ever Champions League win as a beginning rather than an ending.
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A crunching Ruben Dias tackle in the second minute set the tone for the message the defending champions wanted to set, and they proceeded to pepper the Red Star goal. Omri Glazer made it look like Alphonse Areola had been having a nap at the weekend as the visiting goalkeeper produced a string of saves to keep the score level.
Erling Haaland missed a few good chances, Phil Foden planted a header straight at the stopper from yards out and there were numerous blocked efforts that didn't even count in City's shot tally in the first half of 22. By that stage, they were already a goal down but also a