Guardiola relieved 'brilliant' City learnt their lesson from Paris loss

By Sports Desk November 24, 2021

Pep Guardiola felt Manchester City showed they learnt their lesson from the September defeat to Paris Saint-Germain as they defeated the Parisians 2-1 on Wednesday.

City secured top spot in Group A thanks to the victory, becoming just the second English club to win their group in five successive seasons in the competition's current format.

They had to do it the hard way as PSG took the lead through Kylian Mbappe early in the second half.

Raheem Sterling cancelled that out and then substitute Gabriel Jesus got the winner, making it the first Champions League match PSG have ever lost after opening the scoring themselves in the second half.

For a while, the match followed a very similar pattern to the two teams' first meeting of the season when PSG won 2-0 – once again City created comfortably the better chances, only to somehow be level at the break.

But while City failed to score despite racking up 1.9 expected goals (xG) in Paris and PSG netted twice from 0.46 xG, Guardiola's men saw their 1.99 xG in this one match up nicely with two strikes at the Etihad Stadium.

They were clinical, and that pleased Guardiola.

When it was put to him that the game was resembling the September meeting, Guardiola told BT Sport: "That's true, that's true. That's why it's a good lesson.

"You are losing – okay, you have to continue. It's 90 minutes, more than 90 minutes, you have to continue.

"The games are long, we knew the draw was a good result for us, but fortunately in the end we won.

"We did again a good performance like the first game. Unfortunately, in the first half we couldn't convert the chances and after the goal, we suffered, but after that, with our people [fans], thank you so much to the people for coming, it was a lovely night for us."

PSG's famed front three of Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi only mustered five shots between them, with the Parisians' overall xG total kept to a relatively low 1.1.

Of course, they hardly needed a sniff at the Parc des Princes, but Guardiola was generally pleased with how City coped this time.

"I always believe with these players that the further they are from our goal, we are safer," he added. "The closer they are, they find spaces.

"Look at the action when Neymar was through on the goalkeeper and mishit. They create from nothing.

"They are too good up front, and we had to defend as a team. If you believe one guy is going to solve the quality they have, it's impossible.

"We were there with good composure and at the end, I don't know the stats but I think we were brilliant again today and that's good for us."

Related items

  • Curry after Suns defeat Warriors: They're Western Conference champions for a reason Curry after Suns defeat Warriors: They're Western Conference champions for a reason

    Stephen Curry believes the Phoenix Suns showed why they are Western Conference champions after the Golden State Warriors were defeated on Tuesday.

    Phoenix (18-3) moved level with the Warriors at the top of the table with a 104-96 triumph, their record-equalling 17th straight win, matching the previous franchise-best set in 2006-07.

    The Suns' defence proved vital for the win, limiting Golden State to just 61 points after quarter-time as Curry and Draymond Green finished with only 12 and eight points respectively.

    Curry, who converted a meagre 4-for-21 from the field, insisted post-game that Monty Williams' side showed their championship credentials as the pair now sit with identical 18-3 records at the top of the Western Conference.

    "Losses definitely jolt the system a bit," Curry told reporters at the post-game news conference. "Credit to their length and multiple efforts. 

    "We'd rather win, but they're the Western Conference reigning champions for a reason. They're good.

    "With all of the mistakes we did have and how terrible I shot the ball, it was a close game down the stretch. I know [Devin] Booker got hurt, but yes, it was a good learning lesson for us. Understanding the intensity and the focus we need to beat a team like that.'' 

    The Warriors were held below the 100-point mark for the first time this season and it was also the first time they have not managed a century in 43 games.

    The Suns had veteran guard Chris Paul and Mikal Bridges to thank for a large portion of Golden State's season-high 22 turnovers and losing coach Steve Kerr appreciated the defensive job the opposition produced.

    "They frustrated us with the pick-and-roll," Steve Kerr said to reporters. "They did a really good job on Steph and Draymond in the pick-and-roll. 

    "It just didn't feel like we executed some of the other stuff. Then it felt to me like we were in a rush constantly. Teams are going to commit people to Steph the way that Phoenix did.

    "There are going to be openings. There are going to be openings for Jordan [Poole], openings for Otto [Porter Jr.]. 

    "There are going to be openings for Klay Thompson. That's going to be fun. [There is] a lot to look forward to, but the main thing we need to take from this is that we must get better. 

    "We played the Western Conference champions. They were the better team. We play them again in a few days. Let's see if we can make some improvements and carry that forward."

  • Harden credits 'aggressive' mindset after Nets edge past Knicks Harden credits 'aggressive' mindset after Nets edge past Knicks

    James Harden believes "being aggressive the entire game" was key for his starring role as the Brooklyn Nets held off the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

    The Nets went down 107-113 to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday but bounced back with a tight 112-110 victory over the Knicks at the Barclays Center.

    Harden struggled in the defeat to the Suns, converting just four of 16 attempted field goals, while registering seven turnovers and going none-for-six from three-point range.

    However, the 2018 MVP recovered by delivering his third 30-point game of the season – finishing with 34 – as he recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds, eight assists and three steals.

    The 32-year-old, who has had to deal with lingering hamstring strains since last season, credited a pre-game talk with Hall of Famer Reggie Miller for his dominant performance.

    "Reggie's the one that got me going," Harden told reporters at the post-game news conference. "Ultimate confidence, ultimate 'best player in the league'-type vibe. 

    "That mindset. He just hit me with some good motivation before the game – something I needed."

    Brooklyn coach Steve Nash called for Harden to adopt an attacking mindset all the time prior to the meeting with the Knicks and was subsequently granted his wish.

    Asked what had changed for Harden to dominate, the shooting guard responded: "Yeah, just being aggressive. Being aggressive. That's the only thing every night is my aggressiveness. I've just got to continue that.

    "Just not thinking about anything but being aggressive the entire game. The second half was a little different, but we had guys get going. 

    "Patty [Mills] started that second half off hot, Kevin [Durant] got going a little bit, so I was just aggressive. That's the mindset for four quarters."

    Durant also chipped in with 27 points, 21 of those coming in the second half, and nine assists while crucially finding an open lane for James Johnson, whose last-gasp free throws secured the decisive two-point lead.

    Durant's late show rallied the Nets to victory and the 33-year-old insisted he wants to play every available minute for Nash's side.

    "I want to play for 48 minutes," Durant said. "That's just what it is. And I know a lot of people — I don't even know if they're concerned or not. 

    "It's just a conversation to have. I'm playing more minutes and I'm coming off an injury and all this other stuff, but I like to play, and if I can convince coach to play me the whole second half sometimes and put me in earlier in quarters, I'm going to do it. 

    "It doesn't matter. My basketball life is not that long, so I'm going to get the most out of it."

  • Rumour Has It: Former Man City boss Mancini emerges as shock Man Utd contender Rumour Has It: Former Man City boss Mancini emerges as shock Man Utd contender

    Manchester United's search for a new permanent manager continues, with Mauricio Pochettino the favourite.

    Ralf Rangnick has been appointed on an interim basis until the end of the season, though Michael Carrick is set to preside over a third game as caretaker manager on Thursday.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last month after a poor run of results at the end of a trophy-less tenure.

     

    TOP STORY – MANCINI EMERGES AS SHOCK MAN UTD CONTENDER

    Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has emerged as a contender for the vacant Man Utd managerial role, claims The Telegraph.

    The current Italy head coach, who led the Azzurri to the Euro 2020 title, is under "careful consideration" by United chiefs, according to the report.

    Mancini is contracted with Italy until 2026 on a lucrative deal but may potentially be available to take over from Rangnick pending Italy's World Cup qualification play-offs in March.

     

    ROUND-UP

    Milan want to sign Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette as soon as possible and will make a move for him in January rather than wait for him to become a free agent at the season's end, according to Sport Italia journalist Rudy Galetti.

    Man Utd have been offered the opportunity to sign Brazil attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho by Barcelona, reports Sport.

    - Sport also claims Barcelona have a "total agreement" to sign Man City's Spanish forward Ferran Torres, although they want the English champions to lower their asking price of £60million.

    Ajax are looking to do a deal with Tottenham to sign Dutch forward Steven Bergwijn on loan, according to De Telegraaf.

    - Calciomercato claims Juventus have pulled out of the race to sign Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni, with Chelsea leading the contenders.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.