Saturday 16 February 2019

Pep's joy as City rely on big slice of luck

Huddersfield 1 Man City 2

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates with match-winner Raheem Sterling after the final whistle
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates with match-winner Raheem Sterling after the final whistle

Pep Guardiola was delighted after watching his Manchester City side beat Huddersfield 2-1 yesterday to extend their winning streak to 18 games but knows the run will not last forever.

Raheem Sterling claimed a late winner as City came from behind to restore their eight-point Premier League lead after a Sergio Aguero penalty had cancelled out Nicolas Otamendi's first-half own goal.

City have now won their last 11 Premier League matches and 18 in all competitions, but with a tough festive schedule on the horizon, Guardiola expects the winning run to come to an end at some stage.

But the former Barcelona boss was delighted with his side's response to falling behind against the Terriers yesterday.

He said: "If you want to win the title you can not expect easy games, so we have to live these kinds of situations and we spoke about at half-time how we are going to react in that situation.

"I am so happy for the victory.

"We are going to lose. That is going to happen - definitely. Today was so close - it's going to happen.


"When you play every few days, when you see the scheduling - December, January - we go to Donetsk to play in the Champions League. It's impossible.

"The 18 games in-a-row is amazing and we have 11 in the Premier League in a row so that's good. We have a good moment and with the spirit we can go further.

"I am pleased because I know our fans here today and at home, the Manchester City fans are so happy because they see their players fighting until the end and that is when I'm pleased the most."

Soon after the break Sterling appealed for penalties after challenges by Jonas Lossl and Scott Malone. The second was given and Aguero stroked into the bottom corner.

When asked if the second was a clear penalty, Guardiola made a reference to Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger.

He added: "Two clear penalties. Maybe Arsene will say that is penalty."

Huddersfield boss David Wagner was pleased with his side's performance despite their defeat.

He said: "Defeat is defeat. It's never something that you like as a manager or as a football team.

"I think like always we have to be focused on our performance and I think the performance was good today.

"The players left everything on the grass, they've shown passion, desire and they showed emotion as well.

"Of course we were a little bit unlucky because we conceded the penalty very early after half-time and I think the second goal was a little bit unlucky as well.

"You have to have the tight situation in your favour, if you like, to be successful against a team like Man City."

The game kicked off amid a fevered atmosphere and the passionate home support - much as it did for last month's unexpected defeat of Manchester United - energised the Terriers as they blunted City's attack.


City were composed but it soon became clear they would have to be patient, and wary, as Huddersfield defended deeply and threatened on the occasional counter-attack. Aguero did put the ball in the net early but his effort was ruled out for offside and Huddersfield had the first clear-cut chance when Tommy Smith cut inside and fired over.

It was not one-way traffic, however, with Mathias Zanka diverting wide after an Aaron Mooy cross reached him at the back post and Tom Ince getting behind the defence to win a corner.

Another corner followed after Vincent Kompany headed dangerously close to his own goal and this time it proved critical as Ince's set-piece was met by Schindler and deflected in off Otamendi.

Soon after the restart Sterling appealed for penalties after challenges by Lossl and Scott Malone. The second was given and Aguero stroked into the bottom corner.

City almost claimed the lead when Sane struck the bar with a curling free-kick but the game then became scrappy for a spell.

Huddersfield defended superbly but the breakthrough finally came as Jesus' shot was blocked by Lossl, hit Sterling and fortuitously bounced in.

Van la Parra and Sane then came together after the full-time whistle, raising arms to each other in an unsavoury incident which saw the former red-carded and the latter cautioned.

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