Bravo al­ready voiced con­cern over sharp­ness

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - By SI­MON BAJKOWSKI

CLAUDIO Bravo could have seen the un­for­tu­nate events of last week com­ing.

The City goal­keeper has had a dif­fi­cult time at the Eti­had. Hav­ing been con­tro­ver­sially brought in to re­place fan favourite and Eng­land No.1 Joe Hart in Pep Guardi­ola’s first trans­fer win­dow at the club, he was part of a de­fence that failed to im­press and his form would cost him his place in goal, tem­po­rar­ily to Willy Ca­ballero and then per­ma­nently to Eder­son.

Hav­ing lost his place in the start­ing XI, some good per­for­mances in the Carabao Cup dur­ing the 2017/18 sea­son that saw the Blues win their first sil­ver­ware of the Guardi­ola era redeemed his rep­u­ta­tion among some sup­port­ers.

How­ever, a se­ri­ous in­jury in his third sea­son saw him side­lined and he is far from chal­leng­ing Eder­son for the No.1 spot.

Speak­ing to jour­nal­ists Pol Bal­lus and Lu Martin in their book, The Mak­ing of a Su­perteam, Bravo is not too com­pli­men­tary about his time at City as he moans about a range of top­ics in­clud­ing the re­ac­tion he got from sup­port­ers, the lack of re­spect goalkeeper­s get in Eng­land and the time it takes to get from his Wilm­slow house to train­ing and back.

It is his com­ment about his sec­ond sea­son at City, how­ever, when he was the cup goal­keeper that has borne out over the last week.

“This is a very dif­fer­ent job if you are not get­ting a game,” he said. “It’s much harder to main­tain your com­pet­i­tive edge.” So it has played out.

He looked rusty well be­fore he made the rash de­ci­sion to charge out of his area in the Cham­pi­ons League game at Ata­lanta that saw him earn a red card less than 40 min­utes af­ter com­ing on for the in­jured Eder­son.

And while it would be harsh to blame him for Fabinho’s screamer, he was cer­tainly one of the play­ers cul­pa­ble for the third when he thought about com­ing for the cross be­fore re­treat­ing and be­ing un­able to keep Sa­dio Mane’s header out at his near post.

Bravo wasn’t the rea­son City lost at An­field but his lack of match sharp­ness was a fac­tor that contribute­d to their de­feat as a team that needed ev­ery­thing to go its way saw too many fine mar­gins go against them.

Guardi­ola is hope­ful that Eder­son, who missed his first City game through in­jury on Sun­day, will be fit enough to re­turn af­ter the in­ter­na­tional break when Frank Lam­pard’s Chelsea visit the Eti­had.

City’s man­ager was at pains last week to de­fend Bravo and in­sist that he had the same qual­i­ties as Eder­son but by the Chilean’s own ad­mis­sion the Blues lacked a touch of sharp­ness with­out the No.1 that they can­not af­ford to re­peat.

City keeper Claudio Bravo

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