Leroy Sane’s return to the starting eleven for Manchester City’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur ended in a man of the match display. Club Journalist Jack Mumford takes a closer look.
“I am sad for the players again but maybe in the future these kind of games will make us better and stronger,” said Pep Guardiola in his post-match press conference.
In a squad containing several players making their way through their debut campaigns in the Premier League, these blood and thunder encounters that we’ve become so accustomed to in English football are a vital learning curve.
David Silva, Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta are past the stage of being surprised by any challenges these matches can throw at them but for the likes of Gabriel Jesus, who made an exciting cameo, and especially star man Leroy Sane, the future is promising.
Happy about my goal but in the end it's a disappointing result 😕⚽ Let's continue the hard work & better results will come again for sure 👊 pic.twitter.com/9juQsfiFd7— Leroy Sané (@LeroySane19) January 21, 2017
Sane, who also played a vital role in his last start, the 2-1 victory over Spurs’ north London rivals Arsenal, scored again and remained a thorn in Spurs’ side throughout the evening.
Yes, there was an element of luck to his second Manchester City goal. Hugo Lloris, normally unflappable, made a big error in heading the ball against Sane but it was the direct running that had wreaked so much havoc in the visitor’s backline.
Against a defence looking to push high up the pitch, the lung-busting runs in behind from Sane and Sterling can be City’s biggest weapon and with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva to thread the passes, the possibility for chances is always high.
Sane also shone when restricted to the tightest of spaces.
Up against two of the Premier League’s most celebrated full-backs in Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, our ex-Schalke winger showed no fear and his high speed, close control dribbling proved to be the main source of City’s numerous chances. His boss was impressed.
On the 21-year-old, Guardiola said: “I am so happy for the performance from Leroy because when he arrived as a young player and everybody knew it was not easy.
“He was injured but in the last ten days he has looked different and I’ve encouraged him to keep going in that level because he has special qualities. He made a good performance and if we are able to look at him a bit more, he will get more dangerous.”
Injury setbacks mean it’s not been the easiest of starts for Sane in Manchester but now fully fit, he’s becoming a player that can get to the Etihad Stadium crowd to its feet in an instant.
Speaking after the game, the winger said: “I’m definitely starting to feel much more at home in Manchester and my teammates have made me feel welcome. I’m adapting to the league now, too.”
It’s certainly starting to show on the pitch. Here’s to more high-tempo, all-action performances from the young German.