Pep Guardiola urged Claudio Bravo to show fighting qualities after the latest high-profile error to blight the start of his Manchester City career.
Bravo erred on a goal for Manchester United before City closed out a 2-1 derby win on his Premier League debut last month and was sent off as his team-mates crashed to a 4-0 Champions League defeat at Barcelona on Wednesday.
Guardiola caused a stir by bringing the Chile international to the Etihad Stadium to operate as a “sweeper-keeper”, jettisoning England goalkeeper Joe Hart to Torino.
It was Bravo’s slack pass to Luis Suarez that brought about his downfall at Camp Nou, although Guardiola insisted the error came with his execution rather than decision making.
“I know, from the beginning, when Claudio is going to make a mistake he will be on the front page,” he told a news conference ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match against Southampton, where leaders City will aim to turn around a slump of four matches without a win across all competitions.
“Every goalkeeper in the world, every central defender in the world, every striker missing penalties in the world is making mistakes, but Claudio has to fight about that.
“Of course the most difficult thing in that situation is to discriminate when you can pass the ball and play or put the ball long.
“Sometimes you have to put the long balls. I don’t know with this kind of ball if you have to put long balls because he was alone with just one guy pressing the ball and three players to pass to.
“If you hit the ball long it will be received by a Barcelona player. So I don’t think the decision is wrong in that moment, but the action – he didn’t pass good and of course it is so dangerous.”
Guardiola took positives from City’s display in Catalonia but knows the importance of getting back to winning ways against a Southampton side who impressed him during their 1-0 Europa League defeat at Inter on Thursday.
“The people managing the club have to think short and long term but the manager is day by day,” he added.
“We are judged by what happens today, in three years we never know.
“I am thinking about Southampton, of course. I saw yesterday the game against Inter Milan and football is unbelievable – they played amazing, much, much better than Inter and Inter won the game.
“Inter shot once at the goal and won; Southampton created six or seven clear chances and didn’t win.
“I have seen how good a team they are and it will be tough. But we have to win again because it is four times without winning. We were able to win 10 times in a row [at the start of the season], so we are able to not win four or five or six times – football is like this.”
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