Pep Guardiola directs ‘aggressive’ caution to Aston Villa ahead of Brighton showdown

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Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola has sent Aston Villa an ‘aggressive’ warning about Brighton & Hove Albion.

Pep Guardiola has warned Aston Villa about Brighton & Hove Albion’s ‘aggressive’ playing style ahead of Sunday’s crunch clash in the Premier League. The Villans can secure European football for the first time in over a decade with a victory against Brighton but it will be a difficult task, warns Guardiola.

The Seagulls held Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at the Amex Stadium on Wednesday evening and arguably deserved to win as they managed to outscore Guardiola’s side with both the total shots taken and efforts on target. Albion had less possession but were deadly and effective on the ball.

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Julio Enciso’s 38th-minute wonder strike from 25 yards canceled out Phil Foden’s opener and Roberto de Zerbi’s men looked the more threatening from that point on. Guardiola, who had hyped up Albion before Wednesday’s game, was just as complimentary post-match as he issued a stark warning to Unai Emery’s Villa.

Brighton, they destroy the other opponents they have been playing,” Guardiola said at the Amex. “They did it in certain moments [against City], especially in the last 10 or 15 minutes, we struggled but we did really well. They have an incredible team, we tried to have the ball many times and we did it.

“They had the quality to go aggressive man-to-man, both keepers were so important. I enjoyed it a lot, especially being champions and not having to come here to win the game. They are a fantastic team in all departments. That’s why they’re in the Europa League,” Guardiola continued.

Villa won’t be able to achieve a top-six finish like Brighton have but seventh place is achievable if they are able to beat the side Guardiola has described as “aggressive”, “fantastic” and able to “destroy”. It’ll no doubt be incredibly tough but the Seagulls having nothing to play for could benefit.

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Guardiola has described Brighton’s dangerous style of play ahead of Villa’s crucial game against the Seagulls.Guardiola has described Brighton’s dangerous style of play ahead of Villa’s crucial game against the Seagulls.
Guardiola has described Brighton’s dangerous style of play ahead of Villa’s crucial game against the Seagulls. | AFP via Getty Images

Although de Zerbi’s side had a far superior goal difference going into their game-in-hand with City, they were still catchable with two games to go if they conceded enough. They knew that a point would mathematically secure their Europa League status and they got it. They now need nothing.

The Villans, meanwhile, will be very aware of the presence of Tottenham Hotspur and Brentford just one and two points behind respectively. There’s no two ways about it – Sunday’s fixture is just as big as a cup final and a win is needed unless Spurs suffer a surprise defeat to Leeds United.

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