Pep Guardiola reacts to close win over Newcastle United
It will be a tall order for Pep Guardiola to match , or even better, last season’s achievements.
With Manchester City dropping two points against Wolves, there was a certain amount of pressure on Guardiola going into the Newcastle match, especially with Chelsea and Liverpool winning earlier in the day.
As for Rafa Benitez he had nothing to lose, with seemingly all the experts expecting Manchester City to win by three of more goals.
The writing could have been on the wall when Sterling opened the scoring after only eight minutes – but Rafa’s players didn’t panic and kept their shape and discipline, despite Lascelles having gifted the chance to score that early strike.
With Newcastle forced back, Pep Guardiola admitted afterwards that he was largely reliant on his players out wide, stating ‘The wingers make stability in the team.’
Sterling cutting in from the left to score the opener, then Walker leaving the right hand side ‘defensive’ slot to come inside and hit a stunning 30 yard winner.
Obviously mindful of the way Newcastle scored many goals last season, the Man City boss was pleased to say ‘We conceded few set-pieces, free kicks.’
A match maybe that both managers are happy to get out of the way and move into the international break, with both reasonably happy at the result. Never nice to lose but Rafa surely knew yesterday could have been far more damaging for the morale of the squad.
“Raheem Sterling scored a fantastic goal and fought a lot.
“Especially in the second half, he was clever, he moves the way we need to be stable.
“The wingers make stability in the team and he did it well.
“The goal we conceded we defended very bad but in general we didn’t concede many chances.
“We conceded few set-pieces, free kicks.
“Our performance was good, especially in the second half, where we didn’t let them run and created chances.
“We have 10 points from 12. We played Arsenal away, so it’s a good result and we are delighted for the guys.
“The last game, Phil Foden was not in the squad. It was so sad for Phil, and I am sad for Leroy (Sane, who didn’t make squad v Newcastle) now but we have a squad, with six strikers.
“That’s why we decide this game he won’t be there. He needs to work hard now and make sure he is there.
“To start with 10 points from 12 is a good start for us.
“Step by step we will get our best condition.
“After the international break, the season starts with the Champions League, Carabao Cup, the kids go back to school and there will be order in our lives.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Manchester City 2 Newcastle United 1
Newcastle: Yedlin 30
Man City: Sterling 8, Walker 52
Possession was Man City 78% Newcastle 22%
Total shots were Man City 24 Newcastle 3
Shots on target were Man City 8 Newcastle 2
Corners were Man City 4 Newcastle 0
Referee: Kevin Friend
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Clark (Murphy 81), Dummett, Ki, Diame, Kenedy (Atsu 54), Perez, Rondon (Joselu 73)
Darlow, Sterry, Longstaff, Muto
(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the Man City match go HERE)
(To read NUFC player match ratings from the game go HERE)
(Jermaine Jenas “I feel sorry for the Newcastle fans when I see what I see there” – Read it HERE)
(Alan Shearer speaking about position Newcastle are in after defeat at Man City – Read HERE)
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