Mens Team

Walker delighted to repay Guardiola's faith

Walker delighted to repay Guardiola's faith
Kyle Walker declared he was delighted to repay Pep Guardiola’s faith in him, having played a pivotal role in City’s superb comeback win over Southampton.

The right-back netted the winner with a well-taken first-time finish four minutes from time to snatch all three points at the Etihad Stadium, after providing the assist for Sergio Aguero’s equaliser with a driven cross.

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Naturally thrilled to have played such a key role in turning the game in City’s favour, Walker explained he was pleased to have justified his manager’s decision to select him with new recruit Joao Cancelo waiting in the wings.

“Joao has been playing really well,” he said. “The manager played me and I had to repay the faith.

“It’s a great feeling that I can contribute to the team with an assist and a first goal.

“More important than that was the three points – it didn’t matter who scored. I wouldn’t have been bothered, whoever it was!

“It was a crazy game – me scoring was one of those crazy moments! I just got my left foot on it.

“I don’t score many, and a goal and an assist is good for my performance personally – but it was more about the team.”

Reflecting on the fightback, Walker praised Southampton’s defensive display but hailed City’s mental strength and desire as key to the Champions’ success.

“It could be a massive win,” he stated. “It’s tough against any team that puts 11 behind the ball, which slows the tempo down.

“We felt the same previously against Southampton. Like when Raz popped up with the winner in injury time.

“We had to stick to our gameplan, be patient and stay positive. We caused them a lot of problems but they defended well – no-one can take that away from them.

“The talent in the changing room is in abundance. I look around and I’m amazed sometimes at the amount of quality players we have. We have players who can spin a game on its head.

“We’ve got the quality. It’s about the mental strength of every player, and the older ones in the group try to keep things positive.

“We try to feed positive energy. We know it only takes one moment of brilliance to get a goal.

“Sometimes, your mind gets you over the line and that was the case. We kept knocking on the door and thankfully, the door opened for me!”

With title rivals Liverpool also having produced a late turnaround to clinch victory at Aston Villa, attentions are already turning to next weekend’s top-of-the-table clash.

Although Anfield has not proven to be a happy hunting ground for City, Walker is relishing the challenge already.

“It was so important we got three points (against Southampton)” he continued. “I can’t lie: you do hear cheers around the crowd and you do wonder what’s happening in the other game.

“Last season, we saw that – with the clearances off the line and the goal at Burnley for example – it’s a case of fine margins.

“Last season was a real test for us and I enjoy it when it’s like this – pressure games. Every game is a live-or-die situation.

We have a big game next week – we have to go to Anfield and try and get something out of the game.

“I 100% relish it. We know that their fans will be fully behind the team in the fight for the title, as we are.

“If we play our game, hopefully, that will get us across the line. We have to take care of ourselves to get the three points.

“We’re entering the Christmas period now; then the business end of the season with games coming thick and fast.

“Every three points is vital. I don’t care how it comes as long as we win!”

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