'We just follow what Pep tells us!' - Bernardo and Man City believe in Guardiola’s tactical tweaks

Bernardo Silva Pep Guardiola Manchester City
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The midfielder said the manager shapes his side to adapt to the opposition, which worked out well in a victory over Arsenal

Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva says the club has complete belief in Pep Guardiola’s varying tactical set ups after the club’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal.

Guardiola took a chance in Sunday’s clash against the Gunners, lining up with a new-look defence that only started three natural defenders and appeared to have Fernandinho drop into the back line at times.

The manager claimed after the match that it was a set up that was specifically used for the Arsenal contest and would not address its use going forward.

Bernardo, talking with reporters after the victory, echoed those sentiments, saying Guardiola alters their set up based on opposition, but that the players have the utmost faith their manager will get it right.

“During the season we have tried many different things,” Bernardo told reporters. “We adapt to the way the other teams play.

“We try to attack the best way we think we can do, when they play four in the back, five in the back, when they play with four midfielders, three midfielders, one attacker, two attackers.

“So [against Arsenal] it was a good performance. We are happy with the tactics because it worked. We just follow what Pep tells us because we believe in him.

“Once again it worked, so we are very happy with that.”

Man City steamrolled to the Premier League title last season with 100 points, 19 above second-placed Manchester United.

This season has not been as smooth, with City currently second in the table to Liverpool, and already have lost four games, after dropping just two last term.

The inconsistency is something Bernardo says he and his team-mates know they need to stamp out, but believes the staff and dressing room have created an environment where they can do just that.

“We know we have to improve,” Bernardo added. “Even though we have some fantastic performances, sometimes we don’t play as well as we want to.

“We have to improve that, to see which mistakes we are making, with the help of the staff, and try to improve all the team.

“The atmosphere in the dressing room is fantastic. Everybody is trying to help each other to improve, and to try and help the mate next to you.

“We just want to be the better players game by game, be a better team, to try and win some titles at the end of the season.”

Alex Iwobi of Arsenal, Manchester City

Man City's loss midweek to Newcastle, temporarily knocked them five points behind Liverpool in the title race though the weekend's results have seen that deficit trimmed to just three.

Beyond the points, the Arsenal victory was a necessary reaction in Bernardo’s estimation, as it sets them with a positive feeling heading into important upcoming matches against Everton and Chelsea.

“We knew after the Newcastle defeat we had to give a response to that game,” Bernardo said. “Especially here in front of our fans. We’re very happy with the win, very happy with the way we played tonight because I think it was a good performance. And back to winning days.

“Mentally it’s good for us. Because now we have two very difficult games against Everton and Chelsea which we want to win.

“We know that if we don’t it will start getting very difficult to fight for this Premier League.”

Aguero was key to the victory Sunday, scoring his 10th Premier League hat-trick, which proved the difference in the contest.

The Argentine striker has long been an important figure at the Etihad and Bernardo was asked if he was the best he’d ever played with.

Given the Portugal international Bernardo has Cristiano Ronaldo as a team-mate when he suits up for his country, the midfielder admitted Aguero isn’t quite at that level, but is still a “fantastic” player.

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“It’s a pleasure to have [Aguero] with us, scoring another three goals tonight, a fantastic performance,” Bernardo said. “I’ve played with Cristiano in the national team, so it wouldn’t be fair to say yes.

I think Sergio is just a fantastic player and we are so happy to have him with us. It’s a privilege to have a player like Kun in our team, that scores in the big games like he showed again today.

“I just hope that he can keep going this way and helping us winning more games and titles.”