Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is wary his team’s momentum may be stalled by Wolves on Monday night.
City go into the game on the back of four successive wins, including a 2-1 defeat of title-rivals Liverpool and resounding cup successes against Rotherham United and Burton Albion, the latter a 9-0 triumph in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
But Guardiola knows Wolves will present a stiff test at the Etihad Stadium after making an impressive return to the top flight under Nuno Espirito Santo.
“We realised [how good they were] when we played them in the cup last season and again early this season,” the former Barcelona boss told a pre-match news conference, having overseen a penalty shoot-out triumph in the former game before his team were held 1-1 at Molineux in August.
“They are strong physically, good on set pieces, have incredible players on the counter-attack, they don’t just do that with two or three, they have four or five.
“And when you are tired they can bring on two new players to do that.
“They defend deep, they switch play, they control many areas and with [Ruben] Neves and [Joao] Moutinho they can shoot from outside the box.
“That’s why they are doing incredibly well.”
PEP (Wolves are) strong, physical, good at set pieces, strong on the counter attack.
When you are tired in the last minutes, they put on new players. They defend deep, switch play, and control many areas.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 11, 2019
Guardiola is hoping top scorer Sergio Aguero and captain Vincent Kompany will be fit for Monday.
“Sergio was sick after the Liverpool game but joined in the training session today,” he added. “Vincent is also recovering. I hope [they will be able to play] but I don’t know.”
Guardiola repeated his insistence that City would not be making any moves in the January transfer window and pointed out it’s rarely a good time to make a major acquisition.
He said: “Sometimes we have done it but normally when you want to buy one player it is for the next five or six years and normally it doesn’t happen in this window.
“The big clubs don’t buy important players for just six months.
“If you don’t have injuries and are satisfied with the squad, you go with them.”