Ex­pect Euro re­sponse from Blues, says Goater

Manchester Evening News - - CITY SPECIAL - By JOE BRAY

CITY play­ers will use Pep Guardiola’s crit­i­cism of his side as mo­ti­va­tion to com­pete in the Cham­pi­ons League.

That is ac­cord­ing to Blues leg­end Shaun Goater, who says the Eti­had Sta­dium boss has tried to take the pres­sure off his play­ers fol­low­ing the derby de­feat to United.

City slipped 14 points be­hind Pre­mier League lead­ers Liver­pool with the de­feat. Af­ter the derby, Guardiola of­fered a re­al­ity check to his side, claim­ing they are not at the level of the bet­ter sides in the Pre­mier League or across Europe.

“United have the qual­ity to de­fend and the qual­ity to at­tack on the counter-at­tack and you have to ac­cept that but that is the level we face against Liver­pool, United, Barcelona, Madrid, Ju­ven­tus,” Guardiola said.

“That is the [level of the] teams we have to face and the re­al­ity is maybe we are not able now to com­pete with them so we have to im­prove and ac­cept it and move for­ward.”

But Goater be­lieves Guardiola’s com­ments were de­signed to ease the pres­sure on his squad, declar­ing that City play­ers will use the crit­i­cism as mo­ti­va­tion for try­ing to win the Cham­pi­ons League.

Dis­cussing City’s pri­or­i­ties go­ing for­ward, for­mer striker Goater said: “I be­lieve [the ti­tle is] too big a mar­gin for City to pull back. Liver­pool are do­ing ever so well.

“They’re so con­sis­tent, they bring in play­ers that have been used as subs and they’ve come on and per­formed, so I think it’s just too big for City to pull back now.”

On Guardiola’s com­ments, Goater pre­dicted how City will re­act in Europe, say­ing: “It’s prob­a­bly be­cause the league’s out of touch to take the heat off. Ev­ery­one will be think­ing fo­cus can now be put on the Cham­pi­ons League.

“That state­ment’s prob­a­bly to take the heat off the play­ers, but be­lieve me, within the dress­ing room they’ll cer­tainly be go­ing for it but they’ll also need to im­prove de­fen­sively.”

Shaun Goater

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