Belfast Telegraph

Norwich have given City a wake-up call, insists Rodri

Norwich City 3 Manchester City 2

Battle stations: Rodri vies with Norwich City midfielder Marco Stiepermann
Battle stations: Rodri vies with Norwich City midfielder Marco Stiepermann
City’s defence hold an inquest after the concession of the third goal
Kenny McLean

By Mark Mann-Bryans

Rodri says Manchester City have to "wake up" following their shock defeat at Norwich.

The Canaries stunned the defending Premier League champions as they won 3-2 at Carrow Road on Saturday despite missing a host of first-team players.

Pep Guardiola's side were guilty of a number of defensive mishaps - Kenny McLean nodding Norwich in front when he was picked out unmarked from a corner with Todd Cantwell then doubling the lead.

Sergio Aguero pulled one back for the visitors before the break only for Nicolas Otamendi to be robbed of possession on the edge of his own box by Emi Buendia, who then squared for Teemu Pukki to restore a two-goal cushion.

Rodri, a summer signing from Atletico Madrid, fired in a late consolation as Norwich hung on for the win to leave Manchester City five points adrift of leaders Liverpool.

"I think we lost this game because of us," the Spain international said.

"I think they (Norwich) don't do many things to win this game. Of course, congratulations to Norwich, they play really good football, but we gave them chances.

"That's something we have to look at ourselves and solve our mistakes. It's not normal. The three goals are mistakes.

"The team is working, we are down now but we have to wake up because we have matches every three days."

Guardiola said after the game that it is too early in the season to consider the defeat as a blow to their quest to win a third successive league title - something Rodri agreed with.

"The season is very long," he said. "You are going to have matches like this, at least two or three. It's normal. We are not perfect, and the good thing is we are at the start of the season not the end.

"That's the only positive thing we can say. We are five points behind the leaders and that's bad news but we are working and we will keep pushing."

McLean, meanwhile, insists he and his Norwich team-mates always had the belief they could shock the champions.

The severity of the Canaries' injury list was summed up by the fact Daniel Farke was forced to name two goalkeepers on the bench, but McLean said the players had always backed themselves to get a result.

"It was a thoroughly deserved three points and one we knew we were capable of against unbelievable opposition," he said.

"We know how good we are in that changing room. There was a lot of talk through the week about the injuries and the task that we had ahead of us.

"But within the changing room, we knew whoever was on that pitch would have given everything for the shirt and for the fans.

"That's what happened and we got our just rewards. The manager has a squad together that he's confident in whoever plays will step up to the plate."

McLean's header, his first goal since March, came from a corner as City's frailties at defending set-pieces was again laid bare - something the Scotland international revealed was worked on in training leading into the match.

"The ball from Emi was perfect," he added. "I usually make that front post run for set pieces and we felt there was a vulnerability in the front post area for Man City.

"It's something we worked on, that's not a coincidence. That's stuff that we look at throughout the week.

"This isn't luck. We've put the hard work and the practice in and we always believe we can get points."

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