Belfast Telegraph

Pep insists City will struggle to retain title if VAR keeps going against them

Bournemouth 1 Man City 3

Second helpings: Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring City’s second goal with Bernardo Silva
Second helpings: Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring City’s second goal with Bernardo Silva
Pep Guardiola
Fall guy: David Silva takes a tumble under a challenge from Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma

By Ed Elliot

Pep Guardiola took a sarcastic dig at VAR and implied Manchester City will struggle to retain the Premier League title if decisions continue to go against his team.

City were denied what looked to be a certain second half penalty in their 3-1 win at Bournemouth when David Silva had his foot stood on by Jefferson Lerma.

A review of the incident took place but the outcome surprisingly backed the original decision of referee Andre Marriner.

City were last week left frustrated during a 2-2 draw with Tottenham when a last-gasp goal from Gabriel Jesus was disallowed by VAR due to a contentious handball against Aymeric Laporte.

Guardiola appeared exasperated with the use of the technology and, when asked if his side deserved a spot-kick, replied in an sardonic manner: "No, no, no. Penalty? No.

"It was clear hands last game, clear hands. A penalty today? No, please.

"The challenge this season will be amazing for us after winning back-to-back two titles, the challenge will be great."

Questioned about the information he had received at VAR briefings, he responded: "Ask to the VAR people, please. Don't ask to me."

Sergio Aguero's double and Raheem Sterling's sixth goal of the season returned City to winning ways after Spurs had controversially ended their run of 15 successive league victories.

Captain Silva, who was left writhing on the turf by Lerma's challenge with the game at 2-1, contributed two assists on his 400th appearance for the club, while Brazil striker Jesus was absent because of a hamstring problem.

Guardiola praised his team for battling through a physical encounter on the south coast to make it nine top-flight wins from as many games against the Cherries.

"We knew it, we felt it (the physicality), a nice three points and a big compliment to the players, a few things to improve, that's good it's happened when we are winning games," he said.

"The quality of our players in front made the difference and we won the game."

After Aguero's opener and Sterling's 11th goal in 10 appearances against Bournemouth, substitute Harry Wilson gave the hosts hope by making it 2-1 with a stunning 25-yard free-kick in first-half stoppage time.

The Cherries had numerous other chances, with Adam Smith and Callum Wilson among those thwarted by Ederson, before Aguero made the points safe.

City goalkeeper Ederson also escaped with only a yellow card early on after wiping out England forward Wilson wide on the Bournemouth left.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe felt his side caused City plenty of problems.

"We did have our chances and that's the frustrating thing today," he said. "Compare this game to our previous encounters against Manchester City, I think that's the most we've created by a long way. I thought we were a constant menace to them.

"The lads left everything on the pitch, which is all I can ask of them.

"We're frustrated to lose, of course, but a lot of positives to take."

Goalscorer Wilson, who followed up last week's strike at Aston Villa in style, was only on the pitch after Charlie Daniels was carried off on a stretcher with a knee problem.

Wing-back Daniels has just returned from a long-term knee injury and Howe is concerned the player faces another lengthy spell on the sidelines.

"I know it's potentially serious," said Howe. "To see a player go off on a stretcher like that in the amount of pain that he was you fear for the worst.

"Until we get a proper diagnosis, it's difficult to give you definites but we're concerned for him."

BOURNEMOUTH: Ramsdale, Smith (Ibe, 68 mins), Mepham, S Cook, Ake, Daniels (H Wilson, 37 mins), King, Lerma, Billing, Fraser, C Wilson (Solanke, 69 mins). Unused subs: Boruc, Surman, Rico, Simpson.

MAN CITY: Ederson, Walker (Cancelo, 90 mins), Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Gundogan (Rodri, 58 mins), Silva, Bernardo Silva (Mahrez, 79 mins), Aguero, Sterling. Unused subs: Bravo, Tasende, Fernandinho, Foden.

Referee: Andre Marriner (England).

Man of the Match: David Silva

Match Rating: 7/10

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