Men's Team

Gundogan: Bravo is a penalty killer!

PENALTY KILLER: Bravo is a specialist from 12 yards, says Gundogan
Ilkay Gundogan says City’s Carabao Cup hero Claudio Bravo is a “penalty killer”.

Bravo made two saves in Tuesday’s shoot-out win over Wolves, as well as three one-on-one stops during the 120 minutes of play, earning the man-of-the-match award as City progressed to the quarter-finals.

It comes just four months after his penalty heroics for Chile in the Confederations Cup that saw him save three spot kicks in the semi-final win over Portugal - and Gundogan says he’s a 12-yard specialist.

“I think he’s a penalty killer!" said the midfielder. "He showed it with Chile as well.

“Even for us as outfield players, but I think especially for a goalkeeper, when you don’t play every week, when you don’t get that rhythm, it’s quite challenging. 

“And when you play 120 minutes, for a goalkeeper, it’s more about concentration, you have to always be 100 per cent concentrated.

“Especially the one-on-ones he saved, he was just brilliant.

“Last week in the training, we had a few penalties and he saved a lot of them.

“We are just happy to have him and today he was definitely man-of-the-match.”

WATCH: Bravo: Thank you to the fans

Gundogan also moved to allay fears he suffered an injury in the Carabao Cup win.

The German midfielder, who was out of action for nine months after suffering a cruciate knee injury last December, has made eight appearances since his return, played the full 120 minutes against the Championship side and appeared to be struggling in the closing stages of extra time.

He says it was just cramp, a side-effect of the lack of football he’s played in recent months, but admitted it inhibited his performance for the final few minutes of extra time. The results of any subsequent tests are yet to be confirmed. 

He also revealed he would normally be in the frame to take a penalty - Gundogan held his nerve to score in the 2013 Champions League final playing for Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich - but didn't want to risk it this time.

“The last ten minutes were really tough for me,” he said. “Fortunately, it doesn’t look that bad. I don’t think I’ve pulled something. 

“It feels like coming from zero to a hundred! 110 minutes I could handle in a very good way, but the last ten minutes, my legs were cramping everywhere, especially in the groin.

READ: Yaya: Bravo is the reason we are through 

READ: Bravo reflects on a special night 

“I was also a little bit scared that when I do a sprint that something would pull. That’s why I wanted to stay on the field because the result was tight.

“I didn’t want to leave the field and leave my team one man down, but, yeah, the last 10 minutes I couldn’t take an important part of the game. But the lads did it very well.

“Normally I would also have taken a penalty but I was scared that when I shoot something bad would happen!

“The guys did great. In the end, we deserved to win. Especially in the first half, we should have finished the game.

“At the end, we made it tough for ourselves but the most important thing was to win and make it to the next round.”

WATCH: City v Wolves: Extended highlights

Wolves made life difficult for City, putting men behind the ball and looking to play on the counter.

It was a tactic that worked well, and City had to dig deep to make sure they went into the hat for Thursday’s quarter-final draw.

Gundogan says the City players showed character and mental fortitude to grind out the result.

“When you play 120 minutes and win on penalties, character and mentality are very important things,” he said.

“We showed it. To be fair, Wolverhampton showed it as well. They defended great and had two very, very good chances where Claudio saved us. We appreciate that.

“In the end, we were just happy to go through and be in the next round.”

Stay tuned to - the draw for the quarter-final is coming up at 4pm today.

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