English Premiership

Neville believes City can struggle against 5-4-1 system

Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)
Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Former Manchester United defender and Sky Sports analyst Gary Neville believes Manchester City can be disrupted through a 5-4-1 system with clever pressing.

Neville was impressed with the approach used by Wolves in their 1-1 draw with the English Premier League champions on Saturday, and he takes the view that other sides in the top flight could learn from this example.

City were virtually unbeatable in 2017/18 and it was only Liverpool and Manchester United that were able to beat Pep Guardiola's men.

In addition, 100 points were gained, and 106 goals were scored in what was a historic campaign for the outfit from Greater Manchester.

Speaking after the 1-1 draw, Neville said on his official podcast: "After that result, Pep Guardiola knows that his team have been challenged. We've seen many different systems, many different types of approach, and I've been waiting for a different type of play.

"Liverpool caused problems for them last season, as did Man United, but I'm talking about the clubs around mid-table and towards the bottom; a lot of them have rolled over, have been so deep and not had a positive threat.

"Wolves from the very beginning of the game to the very end were fantastic, and still you could argue City may have deserved to win on chances, but because of the approach, shape and idea Nuno Santos had about how to set up I think they got what they deserved.

"The narrow positions of the two wide players in the 5-4-1, and how they didn't always go back, meant they were always able to counter-attack, winning the ball in good positions, not necessarily 20 times during the games but three or four each half. It's the most City have been exposed since the Liverpool away game in January.

"Well done to Wolves, and to the other clubs looking at that, the clubs at the bottom should think about not losing three, four or 5-0 like Huddersfield where it drains confidence. Try to think about winning the game, and that's what Nuno did with Wolves.

"Last season, it felt like to me there was a lot of work done about how to stop City, but not about how to damage them. But from the first minute today Wolves took up a mid-press, and it was high up a few times."