Friday, June 25, 2021

Man City´s nervy win at Newcastle ´good lesson´ ahead of Champions League final – Guardiola

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 May 2021

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Pep Guardiola said Manchester City’s wild 4-3 win over Newcastle United is a “good lesson” ahead of the Champions League final against Chelsea.

City returned to the pitch for the first time since clinching the Premier League title this week and Guardiola’s side survived a seven-goal shoot-out on Friday.

Powered by a Ferran Torres hat-trick, City erased two deficits to set an English record with their 12th consecutive away win – one more milestone after securing their third league title in four years on Tuesday. 

Following one or two days of “distractions” and just one training session, manager Guardiola said he was not expecting perfection against Newcastle as he made five changes to his XI, including giving 35-year-old goalkeeper Scott Carson his club debut. 

Carson made his first Premier League appearance since May 2011 for West Brom, a gap of nine years and 357 days. It is the sixth longest gap between appearances in Premier League history, and the longest ever for a goalkeeper.

With the ultimate prize looming in the Champions League final against Chelsea on May 29, Guardiola expects his team to learn from their close call in Newcastle.

Guardiola said during his post-match news conference after City recorded their 23rd consecutive unbeaten away game in all competitions (W21 D2) – the longest ever undefeated away run by a side in the top four tiers of English football, overtaking Notts County’s run of 22 in 2012.

“The way they fought and the way they run and the way they come back after 1-0, after 3-2, and being there and making a step forward – they know it. It’s not necessary to tell them.

“They know if you want to win or compete against Chelsea in the final, of course you have to earn it.

“It’s better to happen today. Then maybe, maybe it’s not going to happen in the final.”

Ferran Torres – who arrived from Valencia at the start of the season – became the youngest ever player to score a hat-trick for a team managed by Guardiola (21 years and 75 days), overtaking Gabriel Jesus who was 21 years and 218 days against Shakhtar Donetsk in November 2018.

“I’m delighted for the three goals,” Guardiola said. “He has incredible numbers for a first season in England, he has incredible numbers. He didn’t play for a period of two months, he didn’t play much and he came as a winger who can play on both sides.

“He can make incredible runs in behind but maybe we have to start to think about if he can play as a striker because every time he plays in that position he has a sense for goal, a real sense for goal.

“Today he produced an incredible first goal with the header, but the last two… I think the last one is an example of that intuition. It’s intuitive, to know exactly where the ball comes and being there to score a goal.

“He was fantastic all season and an incredible signing for us. He’s a young player and can play in three positions up front. Not just in one, he can play in three. But playing in the more central position the guy has an incredible sense of goal.”

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