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Report: Pep Guardiola tactically targeted this Manchester United star in derby demolition

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United with Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola.
Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United with Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola targeted Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez during the derby

Manchester United centre-back Lisandro Martinez was targeted by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola during the derby, according to ESPN (h/t Metro). The Sky Blues scored six goals past the Red Devils at the Etihad Stadium as the game ended 6-3.

The Spanish manager identified United’s Argentinian defender as the weak link in the backline. Guardiola expected the 24-year-old to be preoccupied with Erling Haaland.

Martinez was dragged into a more central position to double up on the Norwegian striker with Raphael Varane. This left space to the left of the Argentine, leaving a gap between him and Tyrell Malacia.

Manchester City manager targeted Manchester United centre-back Lisandro Martinez in the derby.
Manchester City manager targeted Manchester United centre-back Lisandro Martinez in the derby. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

And Guardiola instructed Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne to get into those areas. City eventually punished us in the Manchester derby. Our left-back had a tough time before being subbed off at half-time, with Luke Shaw coming on.

United were coming off a four-game win streak in the Premier League, beating the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal. The centre-back pairing of Martinez and Varane had been vital during that run.

However, the French and Argentine defenders had a tough time against City. But the Old Trafford side’s midfield and attack were also nullified by Guardiola’s team. We were unable to get hold of the ball for long periods.

The solid partnership of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane faltered against Manchester City.
The solid partnership of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane faltered against Manchester City. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Haaland and Foden both scored a brace in the first half. And the Norwegian and English forwards completed their hat tricks in the second 45. It was the striker’s third consecutive three-goal haul at his home ground.

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City have been a class apart this season, especially with Haaland playing up front. The Norwegian has scored 14 goals in eight league appearances so far. The 22-year-old has taken the English top flight by storm.

United cannot dwell on the result and only take lessons from it. The Red Devils beat Omonia Nicosia 3-2 in the UEFA Europa League. And now is the time to build another winning run.

Written by Aheed Abrar

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