Pep Guardiola reveals it was ‘a joy’ to experience Elland Road atmosphere as he hails Leeds fans

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 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Pep Guardiola enjoyed his first taste of the Elland Road atmosphere as Manchester City beat Leeds 4-0 to move above Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.

It was the City boss’ second visit to the ground, though the first with fans, and the home supporters were in fine voice throughout despite their side falling to a defeat that leaves them right in the relegation battle.

Guardiola’s will be relieved to have come through the test, sandwiched between the two Champions League matches against Real Madrid, and the City boss was full of praise for the home fans that added to the challenge facing his team.

“The last time I came here was behind closed doors,” Guardiola said.

“It’s the first time I’m here at Elland Road with the people. I’ve heard many, many times about the support and when they have transitions they become crazy. It was a joy to be here for the first time.

“Fighting to stay in the Premier League - the people get behind them. Leeds is one of greatest teams in England, I have sympathy for the fans.”

Leeds caused City problems for large periods of the first-half and made it uncomfortable for the visitors, and Guardiola would have feared a potential slip-up as his side were not at their best.

They were much improved after the break though and took complete control with three second-half goals to move them back to the Premier League summit with four matches to go.

“We were surprised a little bit with them playing five at the back, not as aggressive as they normally are,” Guardiola said.

“We suffered a lot in the first-half, the transitions they did are really good. But after the second goal we had the control and could have scored more goals. For us, so important.

“The way they plan, up front they are so fast with Rodrigo and Raphinha. Today was so important to for our chances to be champions again.”

He added: “It’s simple. We have to win all our games to be champions. If we don’t, Liverpool will be champions.”

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