Roberts friendly fire makes Pep take note

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

MANCH­ESTER: Manch­ester City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola ex­pressed ad­mi­ra­tion for Pa­trick Roberts af­ter the loa­nee scored against his par­ent club for Celtic in a 1-1 Cham­pi­ons League draw.

City signed Roberts, 19, from Ful­ham in 2015 for a re­ported fee of 12 mil­lion pounds ($15.2 mil­lion, 14.2 mil­lion eu­ros), but he played just three times be­fore join­ing Celtic on an 18-month loan last Fe­bru­ary.

He came back to haunt City on Tues­day, jink­ing into the box from the right to score a fourth-minute solo goal, which Kelechi Iheana­cho can­celled out four min­utes later.

“We’re go­ing to talk about it at the end of the sea­son. We know his qual­ity, but the de­ci­sion is not talk­ing about one game,” Guardi­ola said when asked about Roberts’s fu­ture. “It’s for one sea­son. We’re go­ing to speak with him, with the man­agers, be­tween each other we’re go­ing to de­cide. “But of course he has the good qual­ity of a winger, one against one. He worked de­fen­sively. So he has po­ten­tial. I’m so happy about his per­for­mance.” Celtic man­ager Bren­dan Rodgers backed Roberts to go on and en­joy a dec­o­rated City ca­reer.

“I’m sure he’ll come back here in the sum­mer and Pep and his staff will have a real good look at him,” Rodgers said.

“You’ve got a young English tal­ent, a big tal­ent, and I’m sure there’ll be a big ca­reer for him here.” With City al­ready as­sured of a last 16 berth and Celtic doomed to a fourth-place fin­ish in Group C, there was noth­ing rid­ing on the game.

City will learn their next op­po­nents in Mon­day’s draw and while Guardi­ola drew sat­is­fac­tion from home wins over Barcelona and Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach, he also sounded a note of cau­tion.

RODGERS ‘DE­LIGHTED’

“The group was re­ally, re­ally tough,” said Guardi­ola, a two-time Cham­pi­ons League win­ner as Barcelona coach.

“We did one (qual­i­fy­ing) game be­fore and our per­for­mance at home was re­ally good, against Glad­bach, Barcelona and to­day as well. “The Cham­pi­ons League is not easy, es­pe­cially for a team that has not ex­pe­ri­ence in Europe. We can­not for­get that guys. “We have to show re­spect for the oth­ers, for the his­tory, for many, many rea­sons. You have to win that re­spect through our per­for­mances through the next years.

“Now we are there and Mon­day we are go­ing to see the draw and we’re go­ing to see how is our level in Fe­bru­ary.

“It’s im­por­tant how our level will be in Fe­bru­ary and hope­fully it will be good to com­pete against the best teams in Europe.”

Celtic were trounced 7-0 by Barcelona in their first game, but Rodgers said his side’s two draws against City-with whom they shared six goals at Celtic Park in Septem­ber-au­gured well.

“I’m ab­so­lutely de­lighted with the cam­paign over­all,” said the for­mer Liver­pool man­ager. “Apart from the first game, in the main our per­for­mance level has been very, very good.

“We com­peted against two of the su­per­pow­ers in Euro­pean foot­ball. We haven’t been beaten by Manch­ester City. We ar­guably could have won both games. I’m ab­so­lutely proud of the team. “It now sets the stan­dard for us to con­tinue with this de­vel­op­ment and look to go on and win the league and be ready to go into the qual­i­fiers for next sea­son again.”

Pep Guardi­ola

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