Man City boss Guardiola delighted by team's consistency

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring the winner against Paris St Germain at Etihad Stadium, Manchester on November 24, 2021
Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring the winner against Paris St Germain at Etihad Stadium, Manchester on November 24, 2021
Image: Craig Brough / Reuters

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola praised his team's consistency after another impressive performance secured a 2-1 Champions League win over Paris St Germain on Wednesday, which secured their place in the last 16 as group winners.

City, who reached last season's final, have progressed to the knockout stages for a ninth successive year and secured the win over the French side despite missing the creative talents of Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden.

“We pressed really well (in Paris) and we adjusted a little bit to what they do. They are so dangerous, the quality they have is extraordinary,” Guardiola said.

“But we did a really good game being ourselves — aggressive with the ball and defending well when we defended deep ... The important thing is to be ourselves.

“What gives you consistency is how you perform and the way we are performing is really good. People are enjoying watching us and we are enjoying playing. Hopefully we can sustain this for as long as possible.”

Gabriel Jesus scored a 76th-minute winner for City.

For the opening 45 minutes, City dominated playing with their usual invention and verve while PSG's front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe too often watched on from afar.

It remains a major question as to whether PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino can build a team capable of winning the Champions League when his side is so lopsided and with his three big-name forwards reluctant to work back and assist off the ball.

City have no such problems with Pep Guardiola's well-drilled machine combining the technique and class with a high work ethic.

City drew level when Raheem Sterling poked home after a lovely ball from Rodri had set up Walker for a trademark low cross.

Neymar had a great chance to restore his side's lead when he wove through the penalty area but he looked disorientated as he put his shot well wide of Ederson's right post.

City always looked the more likely to win the game, with Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva asking questions and Ilkay Gundogan taking charge in midfield in the absence of De Bruyne due to Covid-19.

It was Mahrez who created the winner, floating a ball to Silva at the far post and the Portuguese midfielder showed a deft touch to cushion the ball to Jesus who picked his spot.

Guardiola praised the way his team reacted to going a goal behind.

“It is a good lesson. When you are losing you have to continue. We knew a draw was a good result for us, but we won,” said the former Barcelona coach.

“Always I believe with their forwards, the further they are from our goal the safer we are. Look at the action of Neymar when he missed the shot. They found that from nothing. We have to defend as a team. I thought we were brilliant today,” he said.

Pochettino was pleased his side had made the last 16.

“The important thing is to qualify. We beat City in Parc des Princes, we lost here. The difference is the draw against Leipzig and (that is) why we finish second,” he said.

“After 0-0 in the first half, we score and I think we were calm as we were controlling it really well. You have to give credit to Manchester City, they are a very good team.”

City, second in the Premier League with 26 points from 12 games, host fourth-placed West Ham United on Sunday. — Reuters

 

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