Gary Neville says Pep Guardiola is facing the biggest challenge of his career as the case for Manchester City’s defence crumbles.
Leicester exposed Manchester City’s frailties to produce a stunning 5-2 win at the Etihad Stadium that casts serious doubts over the ability of Guardiola’s team to regain the Premier League title.
Riyad Mahrez had given the home side the lead against his former club as Leicester struggled to touch the ball in the first quarter but when that changed, old vulnerabilities reappeared.
“They were so good in the opening 25 minutes but as soon as Leicester broke on them a couple of times, you felt that, psychologically, it just damaged them,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“Some of the wounds from last season are reappearing. The bugs that cost them the title. Certainly, you can get at this Manchester City back four a lot quicker that you could previously. They don’t seem to react in transition higher up as they did.”
“Three different players making the same basic error,” said Neville.
“Rashness. Naivety. Whatever you want to call it, it is there in that backline. Pep Guardiola is looking to see if he can defend his players but I am not sure he can.
“His defenders aren’t good enough, whichever way you want to look at it. He is a great coach, one of the greatest coaches of all time. But one-on-one, once his defenders get in those positions, they are really poor. It is almost like in their mind they cannot get their head around the fact that someone has got goal-side of them.
“In those three moments that the penalties were given away, you wonder how many that Ederson would have saved. How many of the players who were going through would have hit the target? They may have still been in the game, Manchester City, but for the rash defending.”