Messi City

> Guardi­ola won’t sac­ri­fice style after night to for­get for keeper Bravo

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

MANCH­ESTER CITY coach Pep Guardi­ola was de­fi­ant he will not change his ways de­spite a har­row­ing night for goal­keeper Clau­dio Bravo on his re­turn to Barcelona as a Lionel Messi hat­trick in­spired a 4-0 Barca win yes­ter­day.

Bravo was sent-off with City trail­ing just 1-0 for sav­ing Luis Suarez’s ef­fort when out­side his area after gift­ing the ball to the Uruguayan striker, putting Guardi­ola’s de­ci­sion to jet­ti­son Eng­land No. 1 Joe Hart un­der more scru­tiny.

“Un­til the last day I am a coach I will try to play from the goal­keeper,” said Guardi­ola.

“Of course you can­not play all the time, but it was a mis­take and it some­times hap­pens.”

Bravo en­joyed two al­most fault­less years at Barca be­fore join­ing City in Au­gust, but has en­dured a shaky start un­der Guardi­ola’s firm in­struc­tions to build City’s at­tack from the back.

“He (Bravo) has a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence, he is one of the best goal­keep­ers in the world for the last 10 years, but he will learn and is the first one in the dress­ing room to apol­o­gise.”

Bravo’s gaffe was just one of many City de­fen­sive howlers on the night as Messi took ad­van­tage of Fer­nand­inho’s slip to give Barca an early lead.

Messi curled home a sec­ond be­fore Ilkay Gun­do­gan’s mis­placed pass played in Suarez, who squared for Messi to com­plete his hat­trick.

The score­line could have been even more em­bar­rass­ing for City had sub­sti­tute goal­keeper Willy Ca­ballero not saved a penalty from Ney­mar be­fore the Brazil­ian made amends with a bril­liant fourth.

“It is al­ways dif­fi­cult to play in Barcelona with 11 play­ers and with 10 the game was over,” added Guardi­ola.

“We cre­ated enough chances, we ar­rive at the by­line many times, but with their strik­ers when they ar­rive they pun­ish you.”

Guardi­ola won his first 10 games in charge, but City have now failed to win any of their last four matches and the Cata­lan lamented the se­ries of er­rorstrewn per­for­mances af­fect­ing his side.

A 3-3 draw at Celtic was fol­lowed by a 2-0 de­feat at Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur be­fore City missed two penal­ties in a 1-1 draw with Ever­ton on Satur­day.

“Start­ing in Glas­gow, own goals in White Hart Lane (against Tot­ten­ham), miss­ing penal­ties, we give a lot for the op­po­nents,” he added.

Guardi­ola, who won 14 tro­phies in four years in charge of Barca, has now lost on both oc­ca­sions he has re­turned to the Camp Nou after los­ing 3-0 in 2015 when with Bay­ern Mu­nich.

How­ever, Guardi­ola’s for­mer team­mate and Barca boss Luis En­rique agreed Bravo’s dis­missal changed the game.

“The send­ing-off was de­ci­sive and con­di­tioned the game a lot,” said En­rique.

“Teams that try to play from the back know those er­rors can hap­pen and you have to ac­cept it. In the long-run it is more ben­e­fi­cial.”

Messi has now scored two hat­tricks in as many games in this sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League as the Ar­gen­tine showed no signs of rust on his first start for a month after a groin in­jury.

“We have seen the calm that Messi has to fin­ish in­side the area as if he was in the school yard,” added En­rique.

“If there is any­thing you can ex­pect of Messi it is that. It doesn’t mat­ter how many days he has been out or the games he has missed.” – AFP

Lionel Messi rounds Manch­ester City goal­keeper Clau­dio Bravo to score Barcelona’s first goal dur­ing yes­ter­day’s Cham­pi­ons League Group C match at the Nou Camp.

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