Men’s Team

Guardiola heaps praise on City trio

LEADING MAN: Pep Guardiola takes in the atmosphere at the Metalist Stadium ahead of kick-off
Pep Guardiola paid tribute to Ilkay Gundogan after the midfielder’s masterful performance in the 3-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk.

City were dominant throughout, putting Saturday’s defeat to Norwich firmly behind us with a superb display that got our Champions League Group C campaign off to a flyer.

Gundogan scored the second - a fine finish under pressure after beautifully collecting Riyad Mahrez’s pass - and was the orchestrator of our best moments throughout.

And Guardiola, who made the German his first signing when taking over at City in the summer of 2016, says he is a quality player who commands the respect of everyone in the dressing room.

"The important thing is the credit he has from all of us, he is an exceptional player," Guardiola said.

"He knows how good he has to play because there are many in that position.

"In centre-back we have many injuries but in that position we have many players. He had seven months out in the first year but now I am so satisfied and people can start to look at what he’s done over recent months for this club.

"We couldn't have won the Premier League the way that we did it without him, especially when he plays in three positions.

"Outstanding performance from Ilkay today."

REPORT | Shakhtar 0-3 City

READ | Arteta: City on track in Champions League

The boss also heaped praise on Mahrez, who scored City’s opener, and Fernandinho, who played at centre-half and excelled.

Mahrez was a constant threat with his pace and trickery, while Fernandinho demonstrated defensive quality and a superb range of passing.

Guardiola was clearly impressed with both, and says his focus is now on Saturday's home game against Watford. 

"Last season when he (Mahrez) played, he played good, but this season he is more regular and his performances have been top," Guardiola said.

"He helps with defending and has been doing both, the same with Sterling. It’s a pleasure to watch.

"I didn't have doubts that Ferna would do that. Of course Ferna is a player who can play many positions and has good personality and that’s why he is so important for us.

"I think already about Watford as we don't have much time but to start away in the Champions League and get a good result (is positive).

"The way we played was very good, we created incredible chances but all the guys were fantastic - better than last season."

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