Guardiola refuses to blame apologetic Aguero for Man City defeat

Pep Guardiola was more angry with … The post Guardiola refuses to blame apologetic Aguero for Man City defeat appeared first on Football365.

Guardiola refuses to blame apologetic Aguero for Man City defeat

Pep Guardiola refused to blame Sergio Aguero for fluffing a penalty after Manchester City missed the chance to secure the Premier League title on Saturday.

City’s record goalscorer embarrassingly chipped an attempted Panenka-style spot-kick straight at Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy in at the Etihad Stadium.

Victory in the Champions League final dress rehearsal would have seen City secure their third domestic crown in four years.

Had Aguero scored, City, who had gone ahead through Raheem Sterling moments earlier, would have secured a 2-0 lead just before half-time.

The title would then have been within their grasp but, instead, Hakim Ziyech levelled just after the hour and Marcos Alonso grabbed an injury-time winner.

City boss Guardiola said it was unfair to label Aguero selfish for taking the penalty the way he did, as it would have been a completely different look had he scored.

 



He said: “He is selfish because he misses, if he scores he is a genius. That is the reality.

“Always I say to the players with penalties take one decision – Panenka, right, left, short, whatever you want – but commit. He was convinced.

“He is a sensible guy and we are not going to talk about what Sergio has done. He took the decision and that is all. The takers have to take responsibility and he did it.

“Everyone is disappointed but the first disappointment is him.”

Despite no personal blame from the boss, Aguero admitted he was sorry for the miss and took ownership after the match.

He wrote on his Twitter account: “I would like to apologise to my team-mates, staff and supporters for missing the penalty. It was a bad decision and I take full responsibility.”

Guardiola, however, was convinced City should have had a second penalty shortly before Alonso’s winner when Sterling went down as he was challenged by Kurt Zouma.

“It is a penalty, that is all,” Guardiola said. “After you have to score, of course, but what can I say? Nothing.”

Despite the frustrating result it surely remains only a matter of time before City do clinch the title.

It could even be secured before their next game against Newcastle on Friday if second-placed Manchester United drop three points from their three games over the coming five days.

Guardiola said: “We are sad we lost, we wanted to close out the Premier League but we have to be focused. Football is unpredictable and we have to focus on the game at Newcastle.”

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Early winner: Alisson and Phillips shine as Liverpool offer hope…

It probably won’t be enough but … The post Early winner: Alisson and Phillips shine as Liverpool offer hope… appeared first on Football365.

Early winner: Alisson and Phillips shine as Liverpool offer hope…

You can’t blame Liverpool supporters if recent months have swayed them from believers to doubters.

A steady stream of points p*ssed away amid a spate of misfortune and an excess of calamity will do that to any fan base. So if Reds were experiencing a recently-familiar feeling of pessimism as their team grew increasingly nervous while defending a narrow lead that they seemingly refused to add to, the sight of Thiago’s nerve-settling maiden Premier League goal was like manna from heaven.

It sealed which sees Jurgen Klopp’s men move into the top six. More importantly, that and Sadio Mane’s first-half header keep their top-four hopes alive and, slender though those may be, it must be viewed as a step forward that Liverpool were able to capitalise on on Friday night.

The Reds remain six points off Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes with a game in hand but this victory over the Saints suggests the luck may be shifting and the penny has finally dropped, perhaps just in the nick of time.

One goal has rarely been enough for Liverpool since the turn of the year, especially at Anfield, where Premier League clean sheets have been nowhere to be found since a goalless draw with Manchester United 21 games and five long months ago.


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That crushing feeling of inevitability will have been heightened by the Reds’ shambolic failure to see out a victory against Newcastle a fortnight ago. But before Thiago’s late strike came some reassurance that perhaps this time, after nine home matches without a Premier League shutout, this might finally be the night when Liverpool don’t pull the trigger in their direction of their own feet.

Alisson was largely responsible for what little comfort Reds might have allowed themselves to feel. The Brazilian keeper has had a wretched season and a truly torrid time off the pitch too. But standing in the Saints’ way, Alisson was far more than just the shadow of his former self that he has appeared for much of the campaign.

Were it not for his double save immediately before Mane’s header, it would have been the Saints in front rather than the hosts. Liverpool were ripped through on the counter-attack, with Nathan Tella teeing up Che Adams with a ball from the right. Alisson, though, stood big and wide to block the Scotland striker’s attempted dink. Even then, Thiago and Trent Alexander-Arnold tried to give the Nathan Redmond another opportunity, which Alisson gratefully grasped.

Alisson made a string of second-half saves – one was to gather his own dropped bollock after passing straight to Adams – totalling half a dozen over the course of the 90 minutes. Which kept him considerably busier than usual, with the Liverpool No.1 averaging 2.4 per game this term.

That suggests Liverpool were a bigger shambles than usual at the back, which would be unfair on their rookie centre-back partnership Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams.

Phillips particularly was solid. But this is what we have come to expect from the Bolton Baresi. In his last six appearances, Liverpool have kept four clean sheets. Whatever Klopp decides about Ozan Kabak’s future, Phillips has showed he deserves the manager’s faith.

An improved performance from their back five gave Liverpool the platform upon which to build and it made their lack of fluency in attack irrelevant once Thiago had slotted past Fraser Foster as the 90th-minute ticked by.

It probably won’t be enough but Liverpool have given themselves a chance, which itself is a turn-up for the books.

 

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