Pep Guardiola claims Aston Villa are 'MORE dangerous' in the relegation zone and insists he would prefer Steven Gerrard's men to be in a higher position ahead of their 'tough' trip to Villa Park
- Man City boss Pep Guardiola is concerned about complacency against Villa
- Steven Gerrard's men are in 19th place but the Spaniard says they are a threat
- He warned his City side they face a 'tough' game against a wounded animal
- Many have tipped Aston Villa to be blown away by the quality of Erling Haaland
City can go top of the Premier League with victory at Villa Park, where Steven Gerrard is coming under increasing pressure after a poor start to the season.
But Guardiola – who saw his team almost blow the title against Villa in May – fears a backlash with Gerrard’s side sitting in the relegation zone.
Man City boss Pep Guardiola (L) is bracing for a 'tough' clash against Steven Gerrard's Villa
Villa have endured a terrible start to the season but Guardiola feels they are still 'dangerous'
‘They are more dangerous right now, I’d prefer them to be in a better position,’ Guardiola said. ‘Tomorrow is more difficult for the fact that they have only won one game.
‘But their quality is there. They added Leander Dendoncker, and Jan Bednarek, two experienced players. I can imagine how tough it will be. I felt it immediately when we finished the game against Nottingham Forest.’
City will again be without Aymeric Laporte and Kalvin Phillips, still nursing knee and shoulder problems.
Laporte – who played through the pain barrier at the end of last season - could be facing another six weeks out after surgery over the summer and was a key reason why the champions spent £15million on Borussia Dortmund’s Manuel Akanji.
Many fear for floundering Villa as they prepare to stop the threat of Erling Haaland
Guardiola said Aymeric Laporte will be out until after the international break and said his absence was one of the reasons they signed Manuel Akanji
‘I think maybe after the international break he will be back,’ Guardiola added. ‘He will not force it. I cannot forget being in that position - West Ham away, the final game against Villa, we didn’t have another alternative and he had to play.
‘This is the other reason we’ve gone for Akanji. After surgery it needs time. We have four incredible centre backs before but sometimes Ayme had tough injuries and Nathan (Ake) could not play with muscular problems.
‘So we’ve had just two centre backs with this incredibly busy schedule. We had an opportunity to bring him, one year left in Dortmund, a lot of experience in Germany and Switzerland. He’s perfect for what we need, good in the build up, fast, we played against him for Dortmund, very pleased to have him here as competition for central defenders.'
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