Football

Manchester City in smashing start to pre-season

Guardiola's men advance to EPL Asia Trophy final despite lack of preparation

Manchester City's pre-season tour of China may have been delayed due to administrative errors, but the treble champions hardly seemed affected by the lack of time for acclimatisation.

EPL ASIA TROPHY
MAN CITY WEST HAM
4 1
(David Silva 33, Lukas Nmecha 36-pen, Raheem Sterling 59, 72) (Mark Noble 26-pen)

Pep Guardiola's men trounced West Ham United 4-1 in an EPL Asia Trophy match in Nanjing last night, just a day after arriving in the Chinese city, with Raheem Sterling bagging a second-half brace.

David Silva equalised for City in the 33rd minute after Mark Noble had given the Hammers the lead with a 26th-minute penalty.

Lukas Nmecha made it 2-1 for City also through the spot, before second-half substitute Sterling sealed a comfortable victory, sending them to Saturday's final against Wolverhampton Wanderers, who had earlier thrashed Newcastle United 4-0.

City boss Pep Guardiola was pleased by City's new signings, midfielder Rodri and left-back Angelinho, both of whom made their debuts.

"They played good. They make mistakes, but that's normal," Guardiola told the club website.

"They make an incredible effort to play in these conditions - they wanna do it, but they can't... When your legs can't move faster and you think slower. The most important thing is to improve and try to win the games."

City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne expects his side to improve further as this was only their first game of the pre-season.

"We weren't at the best level, but we expected it. It's been a tough couple of days," he told the City website.

"The travel wasn't the best, the travel we did was not ideal. Everybody did a good job and we need to work hard.

"I'm happy with the performance for the first game of the season. I'm maybe a little bit more tired than happy."

Guardiola also addressed the speculation surrounding Leroy Sane, reiterating that he wants to keep the German winger, who has been linked with Bayern Munich.

"I have said many times that we want people to be happy here and we want to help him to reach his potential," said Guardiola.

"He's a great player with incredible quality. I want people to want to stay here - the club are there, so the desire to have him is always there."

After the EPL play-off final against Wolves, City will be playing friendlies against Kitchee FC in Hong Kong next Wednesday and against Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan three days later.

Football