Pep Guardiola expects his Manchester City side “to suffer” as they come up against League Two Newport in the FA Cup this weekend.
The City manager insists he will be leaving nothing to chance as the Premier League champions bid to avoid what would be a sensational fifth-round shock at Rodney Parade.
Much has been made of the poor state of the pitch in south Wales, with Guardiola also wary of the physical threat Michael Flynn’s side might pose.
Guardiola said: “They’ve done incredible in this competition. They won against Leicester and Middlesbrough.
“What they do, they do it really well. We’ve watched as many games as possible to understand what they do. We respect them a lot.
“We are going to suffer because they are taller and stronger than us. In some areas, they are better than us.
“We have to try to bring our game in the way we are stronger than them. Which team controls these areas, or brings their own game, in that moment will have the advantage to go through.
“If we just expect, because they are in a lower division, it will be easy, we would make a big mistake.
“We will take it seriously and we know how tough it will be, from the first minute until the end.”
Guardiola is refusing to use the damaged playing surface as a potential excuse.
The surface, which is also used by Dragons Rugby and Newport RFC, is showing heavy signs of wear and tear despite being part-synthetic.
“We have to adapt,” said Guardiola, who denied Welsh rumours City groundstaff had deliberately churned up a training pitch to help the side’s preparations.
“It is what it is and we accept that challenge. We played in the Premier League against Tottenham after NFL games.
“We’ll see what the pitch is like when we arrive. If you cannot play (the normal game), you have to play longer or quicker – but I don’t know. We are going to see.
“You don’t win absolutely anything complaining about that. When we play away, they are the owners of their stadium and they can play the pitch what it is.”
For all their success, City have recent experience of a cup upset after losing at then League One Wigan at the fifth-round stage last season.
Guardiola believes the memory of that rare blip, in an otherwise outstanding season, will help his men guard against any complacency.
He said: “We know what happened last season with Wigan. In one game, especially away, anything can happen. We’ll take it seriously, I’m sure about that.”
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