Kevin De Bruyne: Man City Spent 15 Minutes on System Change for Man Utd Win

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2020

Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring his team's third goal, given as an own goal by Manchester United's Belgian-born Brazilian midfielder Andreas Pereira (unseen) during the English League Cup semi-final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England on January 7, 2020. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Kevin De Bruyne has said Manchester City spent only 15 minutes working on the system change that led to their 3-1 win over Manchester United in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg on Tuesday. 

Pep Guardiola sprung a surprise ahead of the Old Trafford clash when he named strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus on the bench and played De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva as false nines.

In contrast to December's derby at the Etihad Stadium, when Guardiola played a 4-3-3 and saw his side torn apart on the counter-attack in a 2-1 defeat, the plan worked brilliantly.

City were 3-0 up by half-time after goals from Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an Andreas Pereira own goal.

Marcus Rashford pulled one back for the hosts in the second half, but it was a convincing display from City.

De Bruyne has now said City spent very little time working on the system change as it is one they have used before elsewhere, per Jamie Jackson of the Guardian:

"We did 15 minutes this morning. That's about it. But it's not like we never did it before so we did already a sometimes against teams who prefer to play man against man—Cardiff, United I think, Barcelona the way we did it the first year. So we've done it a couple of times."

City are back in action in the Premier League on Sunday when they visit Aston Villa.

Guardiola will have been satisfied by the excellent performance his side produced against United, and they will need to maintain that kind of form if they are to have any chance of reeling in leaders Liverpool in the title race.

The Reds are 14 points clear of the two-time defending champions with a game in hand:

City could win every one of their remaining 17 games of 2019-20 and still finish some way off the top.

But that is the target they must be aiming for, and Villa should pose no major threat to City given they are sitting just a point above the relegation zone.

In the reverse fixture back in October, City won 3-0.

Liverpool have some tough fixtures coming up against Tottenham Hotspur, United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, so all City can do is keep winning and hope Jurgen Klopp's side finally slip up.  

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