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Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City struggling to solve ‘safe box’ puzzle

Manager says league leaders need to make better decisions at both ends of pitch, starting with Saturday’s game at West Bromwich Albion

Pep Guardiola does not have a hairdryer setting and prefers not to excoriate his players for individual mistakes. So while others might point the finger at John Stones for a careless back pass against Southampton or Kelechi Iheanacho for not being alert enough to make more of the only couple of chances created against Manchester United, the Manchester City manager accepts collective responsibility for six games without a win and travels to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday looking to find ways in which the team can put things right.

It cannot be easy facing a Tony Pulis team for the first time in the knowledge that the next task on the training-room drawing board will be how to beat Barcelona three days later but that is Premier League life and Guardiola is doing his best to embrace it. “I know how strong West Brom are. We will have to pay attention but I don’t think extra work on set pieces is called for because all the Premier League teams are strong at set pieces,” he said.

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