Men's Team

Ederson on risk, mental toughness and THAT Liverpool clearance

It was a moment that drew a collective intake of breath at the Etihad Stadium.

With the scores level at 1-1 in a crucial game in a title race the looks set to be settled by the finest of margins, Ederson collected a back pass from Kyle Walker.

Diogo Jota was lurking, but the risk appeared to be minimal until the Brazilian delayed releasing the ball and, for a split second, it looked as if it would roll over the goalline to give Liverpool a precious lead.

Heart rates soared in the stands, but not on the pitch, where Ederson knocked the ball wide to Aymeric Laporte with a calmness that was almost impossible to fathom.

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It’s not the first time the 28-year-old has set pulses racing with what appears to spectators as a risky approach.

The man himself always looks remarkably serene and, as he explains, it’s not act.

“I was going to make a pass to the left-back, but I saw Trent Alexander-Arnold covering Joao Cancelo, so I delayed the pass, and the ball went on the goalline,” he says.

Aymeric Laporte offered me a line of pass, so I sorted it out very calmly.

“I got a lot of messages from my friends saying that they almost had a heart attack, but the perspective of the game is different from the outside than inside the game.

“I was always aware of the situation, it was a risky move, but I was always calm.

“I'm always calm. I don't tend to risk much with dribbles or things like that. I try to play simply despite some critical moments in the games that can lead to a goal for the other team.

“I always remain calm in those situations; my team-mates know me very well.

“Of course, I understand [why people find it stressful]. Pep told me many times, that when I'm under pressure I always find my way out. My team-mates always help me by offering me lines of passes.

“It's very natural to me, it's my style of play. I grew up playing that way. I played a lot of futsal and I think that helped me massively later on in my career.”

Ederson’s pivotal role in Guardiola’s City side has had a transformational effect on goalkeeping in the Premier League.

He is vital to the way we build attacks, which is why we often see him receiving the ball in tight situations.

The calmness he speaks of has been enhanced by his experience – he has proven he is assured enough to collect and move the ball when opposition forwards are bearing down on him – but it also stems from a strong mentality which means he doesn’t fear making an error.

“We as professionals, sometimes we fail,” he adds. “We need to learn from our mistakes and keep our heads calm.

“I made a lot of mistakes in my career, and I'll probably make many more. Through time, I managed to prepare myself mentally for mistakes to not let them affect me.

“Whether I make it right or wrong, I'm always calm, it's part of football.

“When you make it right, you are praised. When you fail, you are criticised. I don't let criticism get me down or praise go to my head.”

Having come through the Liverpool game with our one-point lead at the top of the table intact, City go into the final six matches of the campaign knowing six wins would see us crowned champions for the fourth time in five seasons.

Ederson has no doubt Guardiola’s men are capable of getting the job done, despite the Reds' fierce challenge.

And, at this crucial juncture in the calendar, the goalkeeper is leading by example with a dedicated approach which he hopes will settle the fine margins in City’s favour.

“Often after a game I always train,” he says.

“I try to train every day, even on my days off I try to do some gym work at home. I think small details can make a huge difference at this stage of the season.

“We are in a crucial moment of the season, a close title race.  There are six games remaining and our team has the capacity to play well and win them all.

“Liverpool are in a good moment. They are going to play the remaining six games to win them all. They have the capacity to do it.

“We are two ambitious teams that in the last few years have fought for all the trophies. This season isn't going to be different. Liverpool have three competitions to fight for, we are alive in two.

“If we keep the focus and the same approach, we have had all season, I think we have lots of chances to win both the Premier League and the Champions League.”

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