Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

No cheers for Bravo but Chilean is still my number one, says Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola

By Ian Herbert

Published 20/10/2016

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: John Stones of Manchester City slips under pressure from Luis Suarez of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Manchester City's Argentinian defender Pablo Zabaleta controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGOJOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez protests to the referee during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Claudio Bravo of Manchester City FC is shown a red card during the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Claudio Bravo of Manchester City walks off the pitch after being sent off during the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City holds off pressure from Jeremy Mathieu of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates with team mates after scoring his teams second goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: David Silva of Manchester City holds off pressure from Denis Suarez of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Barcelona's Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic (C) and Barcelona's Argentinian defender Javier Mascherano (L) vie with Manchester City's Serbian defender Aleksandar Kolarov during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (bottom) vies with Manchester City's defender John Stones (C top) during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (R) vies with Manchester City's defender John Stones during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Players of Manchester City FC pose for a team photo before the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Supporters of FC Barcelona show pro-independence of Catalonia flags while the teams enter the pitch before the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: A general view outside the stadium ahead of the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Manchester City's Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo warms up before the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
A general view from inside the stadium during the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Old friends and team-mates: Luis Enrique and Pep Guardiola line up for Spain against Austria back in 1999
Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

An unrepentant Pep Guardiola insisted he would keep faith with Claudio Bravo, despite admitting that the Manchester City goalkeeper was at fault for the red card which saw him dismissed during the 4-0 Champions League humbling against Barcelona.

Bravo, signed from Barcelona to replace England number one Joe Hart in August, has endured a shaky start to his City career and looked uneasy with the demands placed on him in the Premier League.

The Chilean's propensity for mistakes was exposed again in the Nou Camp with the keeper being sent off for hand-ball seconds after he lost possession to Luis Suarez 15 yards outside the City penalty area.

But Guardiola insisted that Bravo retains his confidence and that he will not abandon his belief in ball-playing goalkeepers.

"I spoke with Bravo, he was disappointed but it's part of the game," Guardiola said.

"But no change, (my confidence in him) stays the same.

"Football is a game of mistakes, he knows what he did, but he has a lot of experience, he's one of best goalkeepers in last 10 years. I don't have doubts about him.

"He's disappointed but he will learn from that."

Guardiola conceded, however, that it was an unnecessary risk by Bravo to attempt to play the ball so far out of his own penalty area.

"Yes," Guardiola said. "Against Everton we played four or five times long balls.

"But I'm sorry - until the last day of my career as a coach I will try to play from our goalkeeper.

"There are moments you have to kick the ball out, but he tried to play it and sometimes it happens."

Bravo's dismissal was the fourth time in five encounters with Barcelona that City have been forced to play with 10 men.

And Guardiola claimed that the 53rd minute incident was the crucial moment in the game.

"At that level it is hard, but until 10 against 11 it was open and we were competing against a team with a big personality," he said. "But after the card it was over.

"We were there, we were in the game. We were pressing, we had the possession and we made the chances. We did it but we didn't take the chances and you have to do that to win the game

"Every game since Celtic has been the same. Against Everton it was the same with an own goal and two missed penalties. We need to change the atmosphere.

"We knew from the beginning it would be a tough group."

Guardiola, who insisted this defeat was not the worst of his career - the City manager cited Bayern Munich's 4-0 Champions League semi-final defeat against Real Madrid as his managerial low-point - started the game with leading scorer Sergio Aguero on the bench.

The Spaniard - whose side host Southampton on Sunday - insisted the decision was tactical, with a need for more midfielders.

"I wanted one more midfield player in that position and that was the reason why," Guardiola said. "I spoke with him and he was good."

Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph