EPL

Tottenham draw an improvement on last season for City, claims Guardiola

By Sports Desk August 24, 2019

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City's performance against Tottenham, despite a frustrating 2-2 draw, provided evidence the champions can improve again.

City have won the Premier League title in each of the past two seasons, recording a record 100 points in 2017-18 and then holding off a challenge from eventual Champions League winners Liverpool last term.

Guardiola's men are bidding for a third consecutive success in this campaign but suffered an early setback when Spurs scraped a share of the spoils last weekend, with Gabriel Jesus seeing a stoppage-time winner struck off following a VAR review.

However, having dominated Tottenham throughout, Guardiola considered City's display superior to that of one of their most impressive wins in 2018-19, when Chelsea were thrashed 6-0.

"The way we played against Tottenham showed we can do better than last season," he said.

"For example, the Chelsea game last season, we won 6-0 and the Tottenham game was better than Chelsea. But against Chelsea, the first five times in front of goal we scored four.

"Football and all sports are like this. The way we played was better.

"I think it's impossible to sustain every three days the way we played against Tottenham, for the emotion of the first game at home, Champions League finalists and the emotion for the players, they are incredibly focused.

"The problem when you play every three days, the attention to pay, you have to lift them. But the level was so good. It was incredible the way we played, so that is what we try to keep going with and build up from here."

Profligacy was the issue against Tottenham but, having seen City score 201 goals across the past two league seasons, Guardiola is not concerned it will become a long-standing problem.

"With the amount of goals we scored in the past two seasons, I don't have doubts that we can score goals," he said.

"We don't have two incredible players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi that score 50 or 60 goals a season but, in the past two seasons, we scored an incredible amount of goals.

"I don't think we lost that capacity and we're going to continue to score. What we can do is create this game and this game and this game to create chances in open play, in set-pieces and, after one day [of missing chances], that's going to happen."

Guardiola has experienced winning three titles in a row with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and he suggests, contrary to popular belief, winning without playing well would be more concerning.

"After you sleep, [the Tottenham game] is okay," he said. "When we win playing not good and not bad, the day after, I'm happy we won but that is not the right way to achieve big stages or big titles.

"The way we played was the signal, the way we did what we spoke about in training. We try to do it, it happens; that is the signal about whether the team is alive or not."

Related items

  • Rangers 1-1 Young Boys: Gerrard's side survive late scare to seal Europa League progression Rangers 1-1 Young Boys: Gerrard's side survive late scare to seal Europa League progression

    Rangers survived a late fightback from Young Boys as Steven Gerrard's side held on for a 1-1 draw to progress to the Europa League knockout stages.

    Alfredo Morelos' first-half goal looked set to be enough to claim all three points for Rangers – a win which would have seen them top Group G.

    But an 89th-minute Borna Barisic own goal set up a nervy finale at Ibrox on Thursday.

    However, despite losing Ryan Jack to a second yellow card in stoppage time, Rangers held firm to book their place in the round of 32, with Porto - who won 3-2 against Feyenoord – topping the table.

    After a dominant start, Rangers hit the front when Morelos – who missed a penalty in Sunday's Scottish League Cup final defeat to rivals Celtic – tucked in his 26th goal of the season.

    The 23-year-old had already drawn a smart stop from Von Ballmoos before getting the better of defender Frederik Sorensen to slot home.

    Morelos could have doubled his tally shortly after the restart, but Von Ballmoos did well to close the angle.

    That miss lifted the visitors and Allan McGregor had to make an instinctive save from Christian Fassnacht's header, before Morelos saw another strike well saved.

    Young Boys made their good fortune count – Barisic only able to turn a low cross into his own net – but Rangers clung on, even when down to 10 men following Jack's dismissal.

  • Wolves 4-0 Besiktas: Jota hits hat-trick but Nuno's men miss out on top spot Wolves 4-0 Besiktas: Jota hits hat-trick but Nuno's men miss out on top spot

    Diogo Jota came off the bench to score an 11-minute hat-trick as Wolves cruised to a 4-0 home victory over Besiktas, wrapping up Group K of the Europa League in style.

    Nuno Espirito Santo rested Jota at Molineux on Thursday with Wolves already qualified and facing a home game against top-six rivals Tottenham in the Premier League at the weekend.

    However, after his 56th-minute introduction, Jota netted three times in quick succession as the hosts cut loose.

    Leander Dendoncker was also on target but, after finishing second behind Braga, Nuno's side will not be seeded for Monday's last-32 draw, meaning they could face Ajax or Inter, who have dropped into the tournament via the Champions League.

    Wolves thought they had scored in the 18th minute but Patrick Cutrone had strayed offside from Ruben Vinagre's pass, with a wayward Ruben Neves drive summing up a first half devoid of quality.

    Jota's arrival changed everything for the hosts, though. The forward nodded home after superb work on the right wing by Pedro Neto, while his second came just six minutes later.

    Dendoncker had hit the woodwork when facing an open net but, when he then unleashed a 25-yard drive, goalkeeper Utku Yuvakuran turned it on to the post and Jota converted the rebound.

    Besiktas had already been eliminated and they were struggling to cope with a suddenly rampant Wolves, Dendoncker nodding in Joao Moutinho's corner.

    Oskar Buur set up Jota to clinch the match ball from close range and teenage debutant Owen Otasowie almost added a fifth, hitting the crossbar.

  • Manchester United 4-0 AZ: Greenwood dazzles as hosts seal top spot Manchester United 4-0 AZ: Greenwood dazzles as hosts seal top spot

    Mason Greenwood starred with a superb brace as Manchester United thumped AZ 4-0 to seal top spot in Europa League Group L.

    The first half was in keeping with the fact both teams had already qualified but United sprung into life with a flurry of four goals inside 11 second-half minutes.

    Teenage forward Greenwood was to the fore after Ashley Young opened the scoring, dispatching a pair of fabulous finishes either side of winning a penalty that Juan Mata converted.

    AZ were left to rue a pair of missed chances from Calvin Stengs as United romped clear to be assured of a seeded spot in Monday's draw for the knockout stages.

    Andreas Pereira forced AZ goalkeeper Marco Bizot into an early near-post save but the lack of jeopardy in the game was initially reflected by its entertainment levels.

    Netherlands forward Stengs dragged unconvincingly wide before the interval and appeared to be caught be surprise when Owen Wijndal's low 47th-minute cross found him in the midst of a disorganised United backline, prodding too close to Sergio Romero.

    Anthony Martial fired wastefully over on the half volley after some fine work from Greenwood, and United's 54th-minute opener came from a more unlikely source.

    Pereira cleverly twisted out of a tight space by the left corner flag and combined with Mata and Nemanja Matic before the former cut across the six-yard box for the onrushing Young to find the roof of the net from an acute angle.

    Greenwood swiftly doubled the lead with an unerring finish from the edge of the box, although AZ were aggrieved that James Garner was not punished for a foul on Fredrik Midtsjo in the build-up.

    AZ continued their collapse when Jordy Clasie clumsily brought down Greenwood, and Mata dispatched his penalty beyond Bizot's dive.

    There was more to come from the 18-year-old striker, who danced inside Stijn Wuytens and lashed inside the near post in the 64th minute to complete the scoring.
     

    What does it mean? Solskjaer keeps revival running

    Following the restorative 2-1 wins over Tottenham and Manchester City in the Premier League, United were faced with the sort of challenge they have come to dread of late – a match they entered as favourites. A torpid opening period suggested a return to familiar struggles but then they turned on the style.

    Greenwood lives up to his billing

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is no stranger to unhelpful hyperbole, but Greenwood seems to relish measuring up to the tag of being "one of the best finishers I've ever seen". His opener might have come with a slice of controversy but each of his goals were dispatched with crisp precision.

    Midtsjo not spared by ref reprieve

    Although replays suggested he was on the receiving end of a foul from Garner, it should be asked what on earth Midtsjo was doing when he dribbled diagonally into a crowded area 25 yards from his own goal. It was exactly the sort of decision that can turn a difficult moment into a rout.

    What's next?

    United host managerless Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday, with second-placed AZ welcoming champions and leaders Ajax in the Eredivisie.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.