(Reuters) - Manchester City are a model for clubs looking to play an exciting brand of football and Southampton will have their work cut out trying to contain Pep Guardiola’s side in Sunday’s Premier League clash, manager Ralph Hasenhuettl said on Friday.
City’s reign as Premier League champions ended last week but they responded with a 4-0 thrashing of newly crowned winners Liverpool on Thursday.
Southampton, who are 14th in the standings, have lost their last seven games to City in all competitions and Hasenhuettl acknowledged the magnitude of the task facing his side.
“They play the most exciting football, it is unbelievable, every manager who wants to develop his team should be looking at the way they keep possession. They’re among the best in the world,” Hasenhuettl, 52, told reporters.
“If you want to win against such an opponent you must run more, fight more, work more with and against the ball. You must be smarter than them as in the end they have better players on the pitch.”
Hasenhuettl confirmed defender Jannik Vestergaard and midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are set to miss the game.
“We have a few problems, still with Pierre and also Sofiane Boufal is not available for the weekend. We have Vestergaard with a few problems with muscle injuries. Yan Valery also has problems,” the Saints boss added.
Southampton will welcome back Moussa Djenepo after the winger completed a three-match suspension for his red card against Newcastle United in March.
Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar