Mens Team

Pep praise for 'extraordinary' Mendy

WRAPPED UP: The boss in chilly conditions pre-match.
Pep Guardiola was delighted by his team’s performance against Dinamo Zagreb and praised Benjamin Mendy, Phil Foden and hat-trick hero Gabriel Jesus.

City’s 4-1 win in Croatia was just the fillip the team needed after the weekend loss to United and proved that, though the Premier League champions have had one or two set-backs later, when they click into gear they are a powerful force.

READ | Jesus bags treble as classy City thrash Zagreb

“We didn’t play for points – we played for ourselves,” said Pep.

“It is important to finish in that way - no injuries, no yellow cards.

                        MATCH MODE : Pep Guardiola watches on from the sideline.
MATCH MODE : Pep Guardiola watches on from the sideline.

“We played 75 good minutes, especially second half. Players who play regularly played well as well as those who don’t play as often.

“We will focus on Premier League and other competitions and wait to see which conditions we arrive in February.

“Like all the teams in this competition, we want to do the best we can. No team is going to play in last 16 not wanting to go as far as possible. Its normal.”

Pep said Gabriel Jesus’ form is exactly what he needs at this stage of the season and he is hoping the young Brazilian can continue in the same vein over the festive period.

“I am incredibly delighted for Gabby,” he said.

                        FIST BUMP : Celebrating his leveller!
FIST BUMP : Celebrating his leveller!

“Strikers need goals, he scored three. Hopefully can help with his mood to be incredibly positive.

“He is an incredible fighter, in the way he helps to defend and do everything. It was important for him, for the team, for everyone.”

There was praise for Mendy, too, who looked back to his best during the win over Zagreb.

The French left-back was a threat throughout and was involved in City’s second and third goals.

Mendy played best game of the season,” he said. “It is normal for a long time not playing.

“He has incredible physicality when he is fit when his mind is in the right position.

“He’s in an extraordinary player. Now, they have to fight between them - each other - and we will decide who plays at left-back.”

The Catalan was also thrilled with Foden’s excellent contribution, adding that he still has to work on areas of his game before he becomes the finished article.

“Phil is a player who, when he is close to the box is more dangerous.

“He has to learn a little bit when he plays away from the box - the tempo, the spaces and so forth.

“He can attack the central defenders, attack the goal, he's incredibly dangerous. He played really well.

“England have incredible generation of young players for next decade, England has an incredible number of young players. It’s good for the country.”

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