Guardiola contradicts Gündogan’s assertion on City’s courage, nerves

Midfielder believes his team did not fully recover from missed penalty chance

Manchester City’s head coach Pep Guardiola (right) gives instructions to  Ilkay Guendogan  during the UEFA Champions League quarter final first leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at Hotspur Stadium in London on April 9th. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

Manchester City’s head coach Pep Guardiola (right) gives instructions to Ilkay Guendogan during the UEFA Champions League quarter final first leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at Hotspur Stadium in London on April 9th. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

 

Pep Guardiola has contradicted Ilkay Gündogan’s assertion that Manchester City lacked courage and were nervous when losing 1-0 to Tottenham in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg.

Gündogan said more bravery was required and believed City did not fully recover from the penalty missed by Sergio Agüero. Guardiola said: “I don’t agree with him, absolutely not. There are games when we concede a goal and we are not there [in the game] but in this case we conceded a goal and nothing happened. Especially in the second half, it was under control. We didn’t concede many shots on target and we were there many times, even if we didn’t create too much.”

The manager believes the last-gasp 3-2 win at Schalke in the previous round’s opening leg was a poorer display. “The game at Spurs was much better than [at] Schalke. The difference was Leroy [Sané] put the ball in the corner from 50 yards and against Spurs we missed a penalty. Schalke was a far more dangerous situation because we were 10 against 11 and losing 2-1, but we reacted well in both situations.”

Gündogan, yet to extend a contract which expires at the end of next season, had said: “I have the feeling we are nervous in important Champions League games. We always make the wrong decisions. Negative events like that [the Agüero miss] always set us back far too much.”

Guardiola added in response: “Sergio was strong and the team was stable. We defended the set pieces when they are so strong and after when we conceded a goal there were 10 minutes left and nothing happened. We were there and in control. In this case, in this specific game, I don’t think I agree. He can say whatever he wants. I like when they express what they believe.”

City travel Crystal Palace with the availability of Bernardo Silva and Oleksandr Zinchenko in the balance because of their match fitness. “They are feeling better but I don’t know if they are fit for Sunday,” Guardiola said. – Guardian

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