Manchester City secured an emphatic victory over Real in Los Angeles, earning a win that will offer a morale boost going into the new season. They did so by being more direct than they were during Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge, getting the ball forward more quickly rather than with a long chain of passes and possession football.
That is not to say that City have started to hit the ball long. They haven’t by any means, but what they have now started to do is zip the ball forward by searching out the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling more quickly.
Against Real, City stretched things more than in most games last season and were much quicker and slicker getting the ball from A to B. Teams learned that they could stifle City last season by sitting deep and hitting on the counter, but this new-look approach will make that tactic more difficult to deploy.
City’s more direct approach saw them handily defeat the European champions, albeit in a friendly, so it is a good start for the new way under Guardiola.