Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has described Aleksandar Kolarov’s display at centre-back against Sunderland as one of the finest he has ever seen.
The Serbia international started alongside new signing John Stones at the heart of the defence in the absence of Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala in Saturday’s 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium.
And Guardiola, who had moved full-back Kolarov into the middle during pre-season, was left delighted with his all-round contribution.
“I think Kolarov had one of the best performances I have seen in a central defender,” said the former Bayern Munich boss.
“He won all the long balls, he was quality with passes and he was strong. Kolarov not just today but in the last few games played really well.”
Guardiola, however, hopes to be able to call upon Otamendi for City’s Champions League play-off first leg against Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday.
“Hopefully he can play. Steaua Bucharest play with long balls and of course Nico is so important,” he added.
“He had a little problem with his tendon and I could not risk two games in just three days, so that’s why I decided to play with John Stones and Kolarov.”