Manchester United players have been told by interim manager Ralf Rangnick that embracing his ideas on pressing is the "only way" they can compete in the Premier League.

Rangnick was hired last month until the end of the season, at which point he will move into a consultancy position.

His appointment was initially praised as evidence United were attempting to modernise as a club, implementing a brand of football and identity that has been so successful elsewhere.

Rangnick had been deemed the so-called "godfather of gegenpressing" and was seen by many as a shrewd hire given his reputation of developing clubs in the past both as a coach and a director.

But, even though United have only lost one of his six matches, their performances have left a lot to be desired, and the idea of a collective and concerted pressing effort appears to remain foreign.

 

Prior to Rangnick's first game, United averaged 7.6 high turnovers per game in the Premier League – in his first two matches they recorded 12 and 11, respectively.

A trend emerged there, as the only occasion this season United had previously recorded more than 12 (13) was in Michael Carrick's first match against Chelsea. It would seem to be the classic 'new manager bounce' as they soon fell back into their old ways.

United's high turnover average under Rangnick remains virtually identical (7.6) to what it was before, suggesting the German's ideas in that regard simply are not getting across.

 

"This is the only way we can compete in this league and at that level," Rangnick told reporters on the subject of pressing ahead of Monday's FA Cup clash with Aston Villa.

"Whenever you watch games, even if it's not the top teams, they play with intensity, they play with physicality, they play with energy and they sprint. This is what we have to do. We have to develop into this kind of team.

"As I said after the first game against Crystal Palace, we showed at least in the first half a lot of those things and it's about implementing this into the team in a sustainable way. This is our job.

"We have to do it together with the players and we have, obviously, to develop the players, identify for each game, the players who are willing and able to do that and to deliver exactly what we spoke about.

"I've only been here now for five weeks. Yes, the pressure is on at a club like Manchester United. I'm pretty sure that the players are aware of that.

"In the end, it's still about showing up when we play in front of 75,000, and we showed that against Burnley. We also showed it against Crystal Palace.

"The team is able to dominate games, to win games. Both games against Burnley and Palace, that was the case and this is exactly what we have to achieve in the next weeks to help the team develop into a dominating team.

"This can only be done in possession and out of possession they do things together."

One player who was initially deemed a good fit for Rangnick's system was Edinson Cavani, given his work rate and application when on the pitch.

While he is the only United forward among those to feature for Rangnick yet to record a recovery in the final third, the manager believes the Uruguayan can have a big impact over the remainder of the season after committing to staying until June despite apparent interest from Barcelona.

"I told him that if it was up to me I would want him to stay and I had a conversation with him," Rangnick added.

"He came to my office and we spoke for almost half an hour and he told me that he will definitely stay, he will want to stay until the end of the season.

"Not only because I told him that he should stay or has to stay, but he did it on his own behalf. He told me that I can rely on him to stay until the end of the season and give his very best, be a role model for the young players.

"He's available and he's happy to play. Even if he's not playing, he will be trying to be the best possible role model for the other players.

"This is, for me, good news because Edi is one of those players – with his vast amount of experience, his mentality, his work ethic – who could really be a perfect role model for all the other players."

Mikel Arteta slammed Arsenal's performance in their 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest, convinced they were "nowhere near the standard required".

The loss meant Arsenal were eliminated at the third-round stage of the competition for only the second time in 26 seasons.

Arteta was back on the bench after a bout of coronavirus forced him to miss arguably their best performance of the season in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City last weekend.

But he was not happy with what he saw at the City Ground, with substitute Lewis Grabban getting the winner for Forest, who were also the last team to beat Arsenal at this stage of the FA Cup.

Speaking after the game, Arteta told ITV Sport: "We are out of the competition and we have to apologise.

"When you have nine players out, that's a big explanation, but still I don't want to use excuses.

"The team we put out, I expected them to play better and to compete better than we did.

"When you don't do that in a cup against any opponent, you're out.

"What we've done today is nowhere near the standard required."

The 34th-minute withdrawal of left-back Nuno Tavares after a very sloppy start was the first indicator of potential frustration on Arteta's part.

Yet he opted against criticising the youngster, putting it down to a desire to simply change the level of the team.

Asked if it summed up his frustration, Arteta added: "No, it was a decision you have to make in certain moments to try improve the performance of the team, and that's what I did."

Arsenal will look to get this defeat out of their system as soon as possible, with an EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool and a north London derby trip to Tottenham on the horizon.

Arsenal were eliminated at the third-round stage of the FA Cup for only the second time in 26 seasons after Lewis Grabban secured Nottingham Forest a late 1-0 win on Sunday.

Mikel Arteta returned to the bench after a bout of coronavirus forced him to miss arguably their best performance of the season in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City last weekend.

But he will not have been happy with what he saw at the City Ground, with the Gunners' lethargy and lack of inspiration in the early stages a sign of things to come.

The Premier League side were twice fortunate not to fall behind in the second half, but their luck finally ran out seven minutes from time, substitute Grabban getting the winner.

Jurgen Klopp allayed concerns over Thiago Alcantara's hip injury after Liverpool beat Shrewsbury Town 4-1 in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

Thiago has missed the last three matches, raising fears the midfielder could be set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Reds manager Klopp does not expect the Spain international to be out of action for too long, though.

Asked if Thiago could be out for the rest of the season, Klopp said: "No, neither March nor [the] end of the season is in my mind.

"It is something around the hip, that is the situation and it needs time now. He didn't train this week but we expect him to be back to do rehab stuff from tomorrow on and then we will see.

"No, it is not that he is out until the end of the season, not at all."

Klopp praised Kaide Gordon and was impressed with the way his Liverpool side fought back to set to an FA Cup fourth round time at home to Cardiff City.

Daniel Udoh gave the Shrews a shock lead, but their joy was short-lived on Merseyside.

Gordon became the second-youngest goalscorer in the Reds' history at the age of 17 years and 96 days, equalising with a clinical finish after taking a good touch to control the ball inside the penalty area.

Fabinho put Liverpool in front with a penalty just before half-time and struck again with the final kick of the game after Roberto Firmino came off the bench to find the back of the net with a cheeky backheel.

Klopp, back on the touchline following an absence due to his positive COVID-19 test, was not surprised to see former Derby County teenager Gordon make his mark.

He told BBC Sport: "He's a real talent and his main strength is his finishing."  

With Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita away at the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool were further depleted by the loss of Trent Alexander-Arnold to COVID-19 for the tie.

Elijah Dixon-Bonner and Max Woltman made their first senior starts as Klopp went with a mixture of youth and experience.

The German said: "We've trained since Friday pretty much and that is what we decided with this line-up. The boys really fought hard.

"When you get the first goal against you so many things can happen, but I liked the way we responded.

"We started with five really young boys. They are really good players. We played so many safety passes in the first half. We knew we could play better football in the second half."

West Ham were handed a tasty trip to sixth-tier Kidderminster Harriers as the FA Cup served up a David and Goliath tie in the fourth-round draw.

David Moyes' Hammers beat top-flight rivals Leeds United 2-0 on Sunday to pass their first test in this season's competition, and now face a game they dare not lose.

Kidderminster and West Ham are five divisions apart in the English football system and both sit fifth in their respective leagues – the National League North and Premier League.

A stunning 2-1 third-round win over Championship outfit Reading carried Russell Penn's Kidderminster through to the last-32 stage, and now the West Midlands side can prepare for the visit of top-flight high-flyers to Aggborough.

Cup holders Leicester City, who saw off Watford on Saturday, were drawn to travel to either Nottingham Forest or Arsenal, who went into battle at the City Ground on Sunday evening.

Among the Premier League elite, Chelsea were handed a home draw against League One side Plymouth Argyle, Manchester City will host Fulham, Liverpool will tackle Cardiff City at Anfield, and Tottenham will welcome Brighton and Hove Albion.

Manchester United, who face Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Monday, will face Middlesbrough if they come through the tussle with Steven Gerrard's side.

There was perhaps a tinge of disappointment for League One side Cambridge United, who were not rewarded for upsetting Newcastle United with another glamorous tie against Premier League opposition. Instead, they will entertain Luton Town of the Championship, while National League side Boreham Wood, who knocked out AFC Wimbledon, were handed a trip to Bournemouth.

FA Cup fourth-round draw in full:

Crystal Palace v Hartlepool United, Bournemouth v Boreham Wood, Huddersfield Town v Barnsley, Peterborough United v QPR, Cambridge United v Luton Town, Southampton v Coventry City, Chelsea v Plymouth, Everton v Brentford, Kidderminster v West Ham, Manchester United or Aston Villa v Middlesbrough, Tottenham v Brighton and Hove Albion, Liverpool v Cardiff City, Stoke City v Wigan Athletic, Nottingham Forest or Arsenal v Leicester City, Manchester City v Fulham, Wolves v Norwich City.

Ties to be played on the weekend of February 4-7.

Teenager Kaide Gordon scored his first goal for Liverpool and Fabinho grabbed a double as they came from behind to beat Shrewsbury Town 4-1 in the third round of the FA Cup.

A huge contingent of travelling Shrews fans were dreaming of a massive upset after Daniel Udoh put the League One side ahead at Anfield on Sunday.

But Liverpool clicked into gear in the first half, Gordon becoming the second-youngest goalscorer in the Premier League giants' history at the age of 17 and 96 days and Fabinho on target from the penalty spot.

Jurgen Klopp, back on the touchline after an absence following his COVID-19 test, went with a mix of youth and experience to see Reds into the fourth round, Roberto Firmino adding a third with a clever backheel and Fabinho putting the icing on the cake right at the end.

Liverpool dominated possession without posing a real threat before Shrewsbury sensationally took the lead after 27 minutes, when an unmarked Udoh converted Nathanael Ogbeta's inviting cross.

Shrewsbury's lead lasted only seven minutes, as the composed Gordon controlled Conor Bradley's pass and applied a left-footed finish from inside the penalty area.

Ryan Bowman found the back of the Liverpool net with a bullet header soon after, but the striker had strayed offside.

Ethan Ebanks-Landell then gifted Fabinho the chance to put Klopp's side in front just before half-time when he handled in the box and the Brazil midfielder sent Marko Marosi the wrong way from 12 yards.

A brilliant save from Marosi prevented full debutant Elijah Dixon-Bonner from extending Liverpool's lead.

However, substitute Firmino took a touch to control Ibrahima Konate's shot before scoring with a cheeky finish 12 minutes from time and Fabinho lashed home late on as the Reds eased into round four.

Tottenham survived a huge scare at home to third-tier strugglers Morecambe as they came from behind to win 3-1 and advance to round four of the FA Cup. 

Antonio Conte fielded an unfamiliar XI that showed eight changes from the midweek EFL Cup loss to Chelsea, and Spurs went behind to Anthony O'Connor's close-range finish.

Spurs boss Conte, who has reached the final in his only two previous seasons in the competition, turned to Harry Kane and Lucas Moura with a little over 20 minutes remaining. 

Tottenham levelled soon after through Harry Winks' fortuitous free-kick and Lucas completed the comeback in the 85th minute, before Kane netted to seal a nervy passage through.

Matt Doherty, one of three Spurs players to retain his place in the side along with Ben Davies and Japhet Tanganga, headed against the post from an acute angle in a lively start.

But Tottenham found themselves behind after 33 minutes when visiting captain O'Connor volleyed Alfie McCalmont's inswinging corner past Pierluigi Gollini from six yards.

Spurs were booed off at the break but Conte held off from introducing Kane for the hosts, who went close through a flicked Dele Alli shot that Trevor Carson superbly tipped over.

Ryan Sessegnon then dragged wide from a good position, after Alli's penalty appeals were waved away, prompting Conte to bring on Kane, Lucas and Oliver Skipp.

That sparked some life into the home side, with Carson misjudging Winks' free-kick from close to the left touchline as Spurs levelled.

Lucas put Tottenham in front for the first time when the Brazilian caught Ryan McLaughlin in possession, raced clear and rounded Carson for a simple finish into an empty net.

Kane, who missed a great headed chance prior to Lucas' crucial goal, added a third for Spurs with a smart finish away from the despairing Morecambe goalkeeper's reach.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was left out of Liverpool's squad for the FA Cup third-round clash with Shrewsbury Town on Sunday after the club confirmed he had returned a "suspected positive" test for COVID-19.

The Reds were forced to close their training centre for several days last week after a coronavirus outbreak at the club, which led to their EFL Cup semi-final away leg against Arsenal – scheduled for Thursday – being postponed by two weeks.

Liverpool confirmed on Twitter prior to Sunday's game that Alexander-Arnold was absent from the squad after registering a "suspected positive" test shortly after last Sunday's 2-2 draw at Chelsea, but that he is expected to return to training soon.

"Trent is missing after registering a suspected positive COVID test shortly after Chelsea. He is expected to return to training in the coming days," the tweet read.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, who only returned from the illness himself on Sunday, was forced to make a number of changes to his team due to the outbreak, with youngsters Elijah Dixon-Bonner and Max Woltman making their first senior starts.

He did have some recognisable faces to call on though, with Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Fabinho and Curtis Jones all selected from the start.

 

Jurgen Klopp will take charge of Liverpool's FA Cup third-round tie with Shrewsbury Town at Anfield after recovering from coronavirus.

The Reds boss missed the 2-2 Premier League draw with Chelsea last weekend after testing positive for COVID-19.

However, assistant Peter Krawietz revealed on Saturday that Klopp was "feeling fine" and Liverpool have now confirmed the 54-year-old has been cleared to return to the dugout.

Klopp's right-hand man Pep Lijnders will be absent, however, as he continues his own stint in isolation after registering a positive test last week.

An "escalating number" of suspected COVID-19 cases forced Liverpool to shut their training centre last week.

Thursday's EFL Cup semi-final with Arsenal was subsequently postponed, but the clash with third-tier Shrewsbury will go ahead.

The Reds have progressed from nine of their last 10 FA Cup third-round ties, losing the other 2-1 against Wolves in 2018-19.

They have only lost two home games in the competition against sides outside the top-two tiers since joining the Football League in 1893 – Norwich City in 1908-09 and Bolton Wanderers in 1992-93.

 

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has heaped praise on Lewis Hall following the youngster's impressive debut in the FA Cup win over Chesterfield.

FA Cup finalists in four of the last five seasons, the Blues cruised through to the fourth round following a commanding 5-1 victory over their National League opponents.

Hall, who has been with Chelsea since the age of six, produced an assured display as he played the full 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge.

The 17-year-old demonstrated wonderful persistence before crossing for Romelu Lukaku to score the Blues' third goal, while his shot was parried straight to Andreas Christensen, who headed in the hosts' fourth.

And Tuchel insists the teenager proved he was deserving of his opportunity.

When asked why he selected Hall, the head coach said: "It was his performance and attitude in training; the attitude he showed in our possession games and small-sided games. 

"He deserved to play; he is a nice guy and very calm. [It was] a huge opportunity at Stamford Bridge. He took his chance and was hugely involved in some of the goals. [I am] happy for him.

"It's clear what we demand from the players in this position. We have a very supportive dressing room and this is very good for the young boys. They have to step up and show what they are capable of, and they did again.

"I am happy with the attitude with how we started. We started strong and well. We decided the match very early and this is what we wanted."

Having appeared on the bench several times this season, Hall revelled in his chance to shine in front of the Stamford Bridge faithful.

"Ever since I was a kid being at Chelsea, this is what I worked towards," the youngster told BBC Sport.

"I saw my name on the teamsheet and I was shaking. It took a few hours to process it.

"To finally get the opportunity – and in front of my family and the amazing fans – it is an incredible feeling."

Chelsea eased through to the FA Cup fourth round after a commanding 5-1 victory over National League side Chesterfield.

Goals inside the opening 20 minutes from Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Romelu Lukaku put Thomas Tuchel's side well in control at Stamford Bridge.

Andreas Christensen and Hakim Ziyech were also on target as the Blues scored five or more goals in a single game for the second time this season.

However, Chesterfield did grab a consolation in their first third-round appearance for seven years, as Akwasi Asante struck 10 minutes from time.

FA Cup finalists in four of the previous five seasons, Chelsea took the lead after just six minutes. Ziyech's shot ricocheted into the path of Werner, who found the empty net from close range.

Hudson-Odoi doubled the lead spectacularly. Receiving the ball on the left, the winger cut inside before bending a wonderful 25-yard effort into the far corner.

Lukaku made it 3-0 inside 20 minutes, the unmarked Belgium international turning home Lewis Hall's low cross after brilliant persistence by the youngster.

Hall was involved again just before half-time. His shot was parried to Christensen, who headed past Scott Loach for only the second goal of his Chelsea career.

Ziyech added a fifth from the penalty spot nine minutes after the break; smashing home after Calvin Miller brought down Christian Pulisic.

But the visitors did grab a consolation in their first FA Cup tie against Premier League opposition since facing Middlesbrough in the 1996-97 semi-finals, as Asante tapped into an open goal.

The rocky start to Newcastle United's new era continued on Saturday as the Premier League strugglers were dumped out of the FA Cup by third-tier Cambridge United.

Newcastle harbour huge ambitions after they were taken over by a Saudi-led consortium in October and were eyeing a long-awaited cup run under recently-appointed boss Eddie Howe.

But the Magpies were embarrassingly beaten 1-0 in the third round by Cambridge, who were on a three-game winless run and are 16th in League One, through Joe Ironside's 56th-minute strike from close range at St James' Park.

The victory was Cambridge's first ever away to a top-flight side in the FA Cup and means the U's have now won as many games against Premier League opposition this season as Newcastle have in 19 matches.

While Newcastle have yet to truly flex their financial muscles, they brought in Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid for £12million this week and the full-back played a full part in front of United's hugely wealthy owners.

Cambridge goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov made nine saves in total, including a sensation stop to deny Joelinton late on, as Mark Bonner's side made it through to the fourth round for just the second time in 21 seasons.

Second-bottom Newcastle must now turn their attention back to the battle to stay in the Premier League, with a huge clash against fellow-strugglers Watford to come next Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp is feeling fine after recently contracting coronavirus and could return to the dugout for Liverpool's FA Cup third-round tie against Shrewsbury Town on Sunday.

The Reds boss missed the 2-2 Premier League draw with Chelsea last weekend after testing positive for COVID-19.

Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders also tested positive on Wednesday amid an "escalating number" of suspected COVID-19 cases that forced the club to shut their training centre.

The Reds' EFL Cup semi-final with Arsenal on Thursday was subsequently postponed, but this weekend's clash with third-tier Shrewsbury will go ahead.

And one of Klopp's other right-hand men, Peter Krawietz, is hopeful the 54-year-old will be able to take charge of the match at Anfield.

"We hope he will be involved," Krawietz said. "He is fine. He has to do tests, but we hope he will be fine for tomorrow."

 

Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip missed the draw with Chelsea after testing positive for coronavirus.

Krawietz was unwilling to divulge how many players Liverpool are without for the Shrewsbury tie, but admitted it has been tough to prepare for the game given the circumstances.

"I can't tell you exact numbers but obviously the situation is like that for the game tomorrow," he said. "We have a squad, we have a team and will try to win this game.

"It's a difficult situation out there. We had a couple of injuries, illness, COVID cases. This is the situation we have to deal with.

"We're still waiting on a few results with players who are not here today. They have to do their test before they can join the building. This is why I cannot give exact numbers.

"The training ground being shut means nobody could come here. We tried to stay in contact with our players during this period, just like we did in lockdown. 

"Everyone is on their own and, thanks to our great working department, we were able to find solutions for the players."

However, Krawietz did go on to confirm that centre-back Matip is now back in training after returning a negative test and may feature against Shrewsbury, fitness depending.

Liverpool have progressed from nine of their last 10 FA Cup third-round ties, losing the other 2-1 against Wolves in 2018-19.

The Reds have only lost two home games in the competition against sides outside the top-two tiers since joining the Football League in 1893 – Norwich City in 1908-09 and Bolton Wanderers in 1992-93.

But Krawietz, who will be the third different person to manage Liverpool in their last three games if Klopp and Lijnders are absent, is taking nothing for granted.

"Shrewsbury will tough because of their quality," he said. "They're a team who play proper football, want to attack, have strong strikers and a compact defensive formation. 

"They are a team that is well-managed, you can see that. They will have targets, and our situation is not ideal."

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has suggested the club must match his ambition as he looks to improve Spurs.

Conte only signed a contract for a year and a half after taking over from Nuno Espirito Santo in November.

The former Inter coach believes that is not an issue, however, as he insisted he has joined Spurs to help build the club.

However, Conte – who left Inter last year after winning the title amid financial limitations – also implied that Tottenham must match his ambition in order to grow.

"I signed a contract for this season and next season," Conte told a news conference ahead of Spurs' FA Cup third-round tie with Morecambe.

"I think that we decided together, the club and I, to go for this decision. I think that I don't need a long contract to be sure to work for a club. I think that the club has to appreciate my job and then extend my contract, but only if I showed the club I deserve this.

"I'm not a coach that wants many years of a contract. Also, it's not fair, because I know very well I'm a top coach with an important salary for the club.

"I'm open to improve the Tottenham situation and I decided to sign a contract with this club and I'm available to give my opinion, to give my vision, and it won't be a problem for me, a short contract – only one year to go. It's OK because Tottenham has to be sure 120 per cent to continue to work with me.

"I'm happy to work with this group because they are giving me great availability. But at the same time, you know the club has to know my vision, has to know my opinion about the situation and especially what is our ambition."

Conte has overseen a turnaround in fortunes for Spurs, going unbeaten in his first eight Premier League games in charge, winning five of them.

Under the ex-Chelsea and Italy boss, Tottenham have scored 14 league goals, conceding just four times.

That is in contrast to 11 top-flight goals netted and 16 goals conceded across 10 games during Nuno's brief stint, with the Portuguese overseeing five wins and as many defeats.

 

Spurs are far more creative under Conte, averaging 11.5 chances per game compared to 7.1 under Nuno.

Their expected goals (xG) average per game has also doubled, from 1.0 to 2.0, while they are better defensively, facing on average 10 shots per match as opposed to 15, with their mean xGA (expected goals against) value dropping from 1.5 to 0.78.

"When I decided to sign with Tottenham, I know what happened recently in the story of the club," Conte said.

"When you arrive at a new club, you have to go into the situation to understand it very well and to know it very well.

"Outside you can only imagine. It's the same with the players. Outside, you can give an evaluation about a player and then I think when you are the coach of the player and you live with the player day by day, you understand everything about the player and I think it's the same for me.

"I am enjoying my time in Tottenham because I have found a group of players who have shown me a great availability, and they show me the will, the desire to improve in many aspects, and when you have this type of player you are happy."

Manchester City youngster Cole Palmer could have a similar trajectory to that of Phil Foden, according to Pep Guardiola's assistant Rodolfo Borrell.

Palmer played a crucial role in City's 4-1 FA Cup third-round win over Swindon Town on Friday, setting up the opener for Bernardo Silva before netting his maiden goal in the competition late on with a gorgeous strike.

It was an all-round positive display from the right-winger, whose close ball control and technical ability made him a constant nuisance to the fourth-tier opposition, while he also proved a reliable creative outlet.

No player on the pitch could match his four chances created, and his overall positivity on and off the ball led to him registering four more touches (14) in the penalty area than anyone else.

That led to a game-high total of five shots, four of which were from inside the box, including his well-taken goal.

 

The 19-year-old was making his 10th competitive appearance of the season across all competitions and looked at home alongside seasoned superstars like Kevin De Bruyne and Silva.

Borrell, who was in charge due to Guardiola testing positive for coronavirus, suggested they are looking at Palmer's development in a similar light to that of Foden.

With it put to Borrell that Palmer looked "special", the coach told ITV Sport: "Yes, it's true, we have him training with us [the first team] on a regular basis.

"He has great quality, everyone has been able to see this. He's a great player, still needs developing quite a lot but there is obviously a lot of talent there.

"Hopefully very soon he can play more minutes with us like Phil Foden a couple of years ago."

Borrell attempted to temper any comparisons between the two City youth products, but he did not hide his excitement about Palmer.

He continued: "They're completely different players and obviously Phil has shown… I'm not going say [Foden's shown] more than him, but obviously he's older than [Palmer] and has had more opportunities.

 

"At the end of the day, they're two great players. Right now, Phil is already established in our first team and in the national team.

"With Cole, he obviously has the talent and the ingredients to become [something similar] but let's see.

"It's in his hands, he has to keep working hard and performing consistently at a good level."

Ultimately there was little for City to worry about at the County Ground, with Guardiola's absence no more than a footnote.

As it turned out, he had little to do with the game once it started, such is his belief in his coaches.

Borrell added: "We were in touch at half-time. There was not a massive change because everything was as planned as before.

"He has great confidence in all of us. Not just me but all the backroom staff, we have been with him a long time.

 

"We planned all of this together but to be honest with you, after the start of the game he said, 'listen, do as if I wasn't there and obviously if you need anything, keep in touch, and we'll chat at half-time'.

"He has huge confidence in us and I'm grateful, we are grateful. Everything was as planned and it has been a great experience for me and for all of us."

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