Mens Team

Guardiola praise for City quartet

THUMBS UP: The boss seems happy
Pep Guardiola asserted his players deserve credit for Saturday’s Premier League victory over Fulham, singling out four City stars for praise.

City triumphed 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium, courtesy of goals from Leroy Sane, David Silva and Raheem Sterling, with a comprehensive display to continue our 100% home record and unbeaten start to the season.

Guardiola hailed his side’s display and spoke highly of his team in his post-match media address, in particular: Bernardo Silva, Sane, Silva and Aymeric Laporte.

The Catalan boss declared he ‘could not be more pleased’ with the performance of playmaker Bernardo, who produced a sensational display to claim the Man of the Match award, continuing his excellent start to the season.

“It is almost impossible to be more pleased as a manager with him,” Guardiola added. “He deserves to play a lot of minutes. He’s a perfect example.

“Last season, he played a lot but he didn’t start. I will never forget his behaviour.

READ: Match report | City 3-0 Fulham

WATCH: Inside City | Episode 309

GALLERY: Impressive City ease home against Fulham

“People asked me (about Bernardo) and I said I didn’t know what would happen in the future but that he would stay. He is special.

“He is so clever; so intelligent and able to play in three, four, five positions.

“Unfortunately, he couldn’t score his chance but he deserves all of my respect. As a professional and as a player, he is excellent.

“Thank you so much Manchester City for buying that guy from Monaco!”

Guardiola also reserved praise for opening goalscorer and new father Sane, who returned to the starting XI for the first time since the Community Shield triumph over Chelsea.

WATCH: A nutmeg for baby Sane!

“We never doubted Leroy’s quality,” he continued. “He showed us many times, especially last season.

“(Against Fulham), he played again so well. We cannot forget: he is 22 years old. These kind of things – having up and down periods – happen at that age.

“He has to realise what he has to do as a professional.”

Spaniard Silva also marked his 350th City appearance with his 100th career (and 50th Premier League) goal, earning deserved recognition from his manager.

“It’s not bad!” he joked. “You have to have a lot of time here with a healthy and positive mentality.

“That’s a lot of games and he has to be so proud. The fans and the people here are.

“It’s a good number.”

Laporte also impressed in the heart of defence, much to Guardiola’s delight.

“He’s started the season really well,” he reflected. “That’s why he’s played every game.

“He didn’t have an international break so he was able to rest.

WATCH: Pep praise for 'perfect' Bernardo

“City bought an exceptional player with good mentality.

“Aged 18, 19, he played against Messi and Ronaldo. That gave him a lot of experience and he has a lot of personality.

“He’s left-footed too, which is not easy to find. That helps us to make that pass outside, which is complicated.”

The Catalan boss also added he felt ‘guilty’, as youngster Phil Foden was unable to be introduced from the bench.

“I feel guilty,” he admitted. “He deserves to play but doesn’t play.

“Sergio Aguero suffered an injury in the first half and we didn’t want to take a risk – but he is going to play a lot of games this season. I feel it.

“The guys were exhausted after the game and we have a game now every three or four days, so he is going to play minutes.

“We are just in September. There is a long time left. Everybody is going to be involved.”

Although Guardiola declared himself pleased with the triumph, he also conceded the Blues need to be more ruthless in front of goal in the hunt to retain the title.

WATCH: Inside City: Episode 309

“I said (in my pre-match press conference): I give a lot of credit to Fulham,” he told press. “They asked a lot of us.

“Because of the way they want to play, they will make a lot of surprises in this Premier League.

“That’s why I give them a lot of credit – 3-0 is a good result. We created a lot of chances to score five, six or seven goals but we have to be more clinical in those situations.

“The contenders are so tough and goal difference is important.

“For the last 15, 20 minutes, I saw that the team was a little tired without the desire to go for another goal. Instead, they decided to control the game although, when this happens, you have less control.

“After the international break, it is always complicated to be settled again into the team. They are always dangerous, these kinds of games.

“I am satisfied for the result and performance. We fought a lot and worked a lot defensively. We had spoken about that on Friday – that was out first time all together.

“When we are not able to fight a lot, we will suffer. They want to play. They have good build-up and Mitrovic is strong in the air. There is also Schurrle and the left-back – the young guy – is so dangerous.

“In the first two minutes before our goal, the only team in the Etihad Stadium was Fulham! They made a mistake and in that situation when we are high pressing, we are so quick.

“I give a lot of credit for our victory.”

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