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Pep Guardiola Shines Light on Man City's Improvements in Defence

Pep Guardiola claims that collective team spirit is the foundation of his Manchester City side's massive defensive improvements in recent seasons.
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City's defence was the bedrock of the the club's third Premier League title-winning campaign in the 2020/21 season - the third in the last four seasons.

Late summer signing Ruben Dias provided the extra steel within the back four, and with the unexpected resurgence of John Stones, the pair formed one of the best centre-back partnerships in European football.

This season however, Stones gained fitness late after a long EURO 2020 tournament, and Spanish international Aymeric Laporte filled in - leaving the Englishman to sit on the bench and watch the Frenchman take his turn to excel next to Ruben Dias.

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As Manchester City head to Paris to face the world's most talented front three, Neymar, Lionel Messi, and Kylian Mbappe - Pep Guardiola was asked if such defensive improvement will help City fight for their first UEFA Champions League title. 

"The season with the emergency with [Aymeric] Laporte and John [Stones] injured, we played Fernandinho in that position as an alternative, but we suffered. Always we defend well.

"We don't defend well because we don't have good defenders, it's because everyone puts the spirit for each other," Pep Guardiola explained in his press conference ahead of the squad's trip to France on Monday evening. 

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"The only thing I understand from the beginning is defence depends on the will of the players, running when you have the ball. We have the desire to help, it's the way you're in this position to play well."

In typical Pep Guardiola fashion, the Manchester City boss pointed out that his side's best defence is keeping the ball and controlling the game. Despite that, Ruben Dias and co could still have their hands full with the supremely talented PSG attacking force. 

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"Most of the time together, we do it well. At the end we try to do it well. Football, you have to do with the ball, playing, the most important thing is how many chances we concede during the game."

"This is good information, to know how is the bite of the team. In general, it's good. Still we can do better."

The two teams will rekindle a budding rivalry after a feisty affair in the competition's semi-final round last season, when Manchester City's aforementioned defence was the difference maker in the tie. 

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