EPL

Guardiola wants to see a more clinical Man City despite coasting at Palace

By Sports Desk October 19, 2019

Pep Guardiola thinks Manchester City can still be more clinical, despite seeing his side produce a largely comfortable 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Gabriel Jesus and David Silva scored within 93 seconds of one another with the first half drawing to a close at Selhurst Park, the second a particularly fine effort as Raheem Sterling producied a memorable assist.

In truth, City might have been far more comfortable winners, with Sterling, Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne guilty of missing presentable second-half chances.

"We enjoyed the second goal - it was nice. But in the Premier League we have to score the third and fourth because it was difficult in the end with the pressure," Guardiola told BBC Sport.

"If [Christian] Benteke scores to make it 2-1, then it's difficult. The only problem is we could not score the third one. We deserved it but have to be more clinical."

City produced a fine riposte to a 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves prior to the international break to cut the gap to Liverpool to five points ahead of the unbeaten Premier League leaders' trip to Manchester United on Sunday.

Guardiola hopes the victory is the start of another run for his defending champions.

"Hopefully we can start from here and continue our good performance," he added. "Their keeper made a lot of saves but hopefully we can be more clinical."

City started the match with a makeshift centre-back pairing of Fernandinho and Rodri, who performed well at the heart of the visitors' defence.

He said: "Our build-up was quicker because they have more intelligence and they pass the ball so well because they are central midfielders.

"The season is too long, everybody is going to play. It's another option we have."

Roy Hodgson had no qualms over the result but rued the fact Palace conceded the goals in such quick succession.

"I thought they worked unbelievably hard, we came across a Man City side in top form, I thought their pressure was excellent they gave us literally no time on the ball whatsoever," he said.

"It was unlucky the two goals came so close after the other, had we got in 1-0, who knows? I've no complaints over the result. 

"I'm proud of the way we kept fighting, we never dropped the heads or gave up and could have come up with a goal on our sheet."

Benteke almost brought Palace back into the game with his first touch, but saw his thumping header brilliantly tipped on to the bar by Ederson as his wait for a maiden Palace goal of the campaign continued.

"It would have been a great moment for him. It was such a good header and I don't know how the keeper kept it out," Hodgson added.

"I was thinking, 'Oh great, Christian's got off the mark with a great goal against the champions'. But hopefully he can still take confidence from that and take that into the next games."

Related items

  • Olmo leaves door open to Barcelona return Olmo leaves door open to Barcelona return

    Barcelona academy product Dani Olmo did not rule out a return to Camp Nou after his impressive form for Dinamo Zagreb led to speculation that the Spanish champions could seek to re-sign him.

    The 21-year-old attacking midfielder has scored two goals in six league appearances for Dinamo this season, but it was his performances in Spain's European Under-21 Championship triumph that helped propel him into contention for a transfer to LaLiga.

    Olmo netted three times to help Spain's young players to glory and his form in big games has continue in the Champions League, with four goals in nine appearances for a Dinamo side still in contention to reach the knockout stages.

    Asked whether his displays might carry him back to Spain, Olmo told Sport: "I hope I can come back, but we've just started the season really well.

    "We're doing well in the Champions League. There are two games left and we depend on ourselves to get through. There's a lot of work to be done. 

    "The Champions League is a shop window for all young players, especially if you're in a smaller league like Croatia."

    Olmo did not make a senior appearance for Barcelona before joining Dinamo as a 17-year-old, but he paid tribute to the training academy at La Masia for giving him strong foundations.

    On the speculation over a possible transfer back to Catalonia, Olmo said: "We will see what happens.

    "I don't close the door on any club, but I'm a Dinamo player, what happens with Dinamo, we will see.

    "Barcelona's style: touch, movement - that's added to what I have learned in Croatia.

    "They've made me the player I am now."

  • Barcelona are behind Valverde, insists Abidal Barcelona are behind Valverde, insists Abidal

    Ernesto Valverde has the backing of Barcelona's backroom staff according to sporting director Eric Abidal, who moved to distance the Blaugrana from "clubs that change coaches after bad results".

    Barcelona are top of LaLiga, level on points with second-placed Real Madrid, but a 3-1 defeat at Levante and a goalless draw at home to Slavia Prague brought doubts over Valverde's leadership back to the fore among sections of the club's fanbase.

    Ronaldo Koeman has been touted as a potential replacement for Valverde, should he leave the position he took up in May 2017.

    Abidal admitted that Valverde's position is never far from the headlines, despite his back-to-back LaLiga triumphs, pointing to Barcelona's Champions League eliminations at the hands of Roma in 2017-18 and Liverpool in 2018-19 as sore points for supporters.

    "There's always a debate about Valverde," Abidal told SPORT.

    "The same thing that happened in Rome happened in Liverpool. Because of one result you can end up thinking that it's been a bad season. And for the way that it happened. 

    "In these situations, you can think that the coach is to blame, but you have to analyse everything. What does the coach bring to the team and vice-versa?

    "We support the coach and we give him all the information, although the day-to-day is his. There are clubs that change coaches after bad results, but you always have to look at the wider situation.

    "If the coach sees that it can be improved, you have to back him."

    Antoine Griezmann's performances have also been heavily scrutinised by the Camp Nou faithful since his €120million transfer from Atletico Madrid, and Abidal conceded the France international has not been at his best.

    Griezmann has scored four goals in 11 league appearances and only one in his last six domestic outings, leaving him vulnerable to criticism from an expectant crowd.

    Abidal backed the 28-year-old to improve, saying: "He knows it's complicated to adapt. Here the movements are different, but he's a player that can add a lot and the coach knows that. 

    "Defensively he brings a lot and he can play in many positions. He came because he wants to win the Champions League.

    "He knows he's not at his best and that's only fixed by working hard. Griezmann is an intelligent player and the important thing is to know what you can add to the team in the position you are playing."

  • Germany confirm multiple injuries for Waldschmidt after heavy collision Germany confirm multiple injuries for Waldschmidt after heavy collision

    Luca Waldschmidt suffered injuries to his face, knee and ankle in a seven-minute cameo against Belarus and will miss Germany's final Euro 2020 qualifier.

    The Freiburg forward was taken to hospital after colliding with Belarus goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor at Borussia Park on Thursday.

    Tests confirmed Waldschmidt sustained a concussion among multiple impact injuries, according to a German Football Association (DFB) statement.

    "Luca Waldschmidt suffered a midfacial fracture and concussion, as well as an injury to his right knee and ankle during Germany's 4-0 victory over Belarus on Saturday evening," the statement read.

    "The DFB and Freiburg's medical departments will carry out further examinations in due course.

    "The 23-year-old, who replaced Serge Gnabry in the 84th minute of the game, will travel back to Freiburg from the national team headquarters in Dusseldorf [on Sunday]."

    Waldschmidt was taken off in the first minute of added time and will not be involved when Germany entertain Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

    The match is effectively a dead rubber for Joachim Low's men, who sealed qualification for Euro 2020 and went top of Group C thanks to their victory over Belarus.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.