Guardi­ola’s warn­ing on main­tain­ing stan­dards

Glossop Advertiser - - Sport - Ty­rone Mar­shall

CITY’S win over Bournemouth has given Pep Guardi­ola a weapon to make sure stan­dards don’t drop in his squad as they seek to de­fend the Pre­mier League ti­tle.

The City boss was dis­ap­pointed with the last 20 min­utes of the first half. The Blues were pun­ished for as Cal­lum Wil­son equalised on the stroke of half time, can­celling out Bernardo Silva’s opener.

But Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gun­do­gan scored in the sec­ond half to wrap up a 3-1 win and City ex­tended their ad­van­tage at the top of the ta­ble to five points, with their chal­lengers all play­ing on Sun­day.

Guardi­ola be­lieves the win sent a mes­sage to City’s ti­tle ri­vals, but just im­por­tantly to his own squad, es­pe­cially in that dis­ap­point­ing spell at the end of the first half.

“We want to show our con­tenders that we want to be there ev­ery day. That is the most dif­fi­cult thing in sport,” said Guardi­ola. “If you want to be­come good club win­ning one Pre­mier League, you want to do it again and again, get 100 points and that is not easy. In the league we have just dropped points from two draws.

“That’s why to­day I now have a weapon and can say ‘guys, re­mem­ber the 20 min­utes in the first half, we were not good enough, and what hap­pens when you drop off.’”

City are now three games into a run of 13 games in 44 days and Guardi­ola was pleased his side found a way to con­tinue to set the pace at the top of the ta­ble.

He pin­pointed Sterling’s slalom­ing run early in the sec­ond half, end­ing in a de­flected shot off the post, as the mo­ment the game swung back in City’s favour, with the winger scor­ing mo­ments later.

“The last 20 in the first half we were flat. But that is nor­mal be­cause we play lot of com­pe­ti­tions and a lot of games, that’s why I am de­lighted to win that way, when you re­alise how com­pli­cated it is,” added Guardi­ola. “Ev­ery­thing is so tough.

“In the first half Raheem was not there, then he made that slalom run and changed the game. I’m glad to­day, more than any other games, we played like we did in the sec­ond half. I re­mem­ber af­ter con­ced­ing the penalty against United the re­ac­tion was ex­tra­or­di­nary. And the re­ac­tion af­ter Lyon when we went one down and then 2-1 down, im­me­di­ately af­ter that.

“What we have done in the Pre­mier League af­ter 13, 14, 15 games is in­cred­i­ble and why it means a lot to­day. Maybe to­day it was not the full 90 min­utes, but 75 was good.”

●● Raheem Sterling whips in a cross against Bournemouth

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