Men's Team

Rodrigo: It’s a dream to score a last-minute winner!

Rodrigo says his dramatic, last-minute winner over Arsenal will live long in the memory.

The Spaniard marked his welcome return to action with an incredible 93rd-minute effort to snatch a crucial win in North London, as Pep Guardiola’s men battled back from a goal down to extend our lead at the top of the Premier League table to 11 points.

Such was the importance and the manner of which City ground out the win, the strike sparked scenes of jubilation on and off the pitch.

Rodrigo admitted it was a hugely enjoyed moment for the Champions, adding the surprises thrown up by football’s unpredictability are what makes the sport so special.

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“It is a dream to score this kind of goal,” he said. “Football is like this.

“It will always make you surprised and I am so happy because I have had a very tough week – I came back and felt a little bit tired in the last minutes, but I gave everything.

“For sure, it is a massive goal and important because of the three points. It teaches us that you have to believe until the last minute.

“We knew that we were not brilliant in the sense that they were dropping and we didn’t find the spaces.

“It is tough. But there was a long ball, [Aymeric] Laporte knocked the ball on and I scored.

“Football is like this and you have to go for it to score the goal. That is why we won.”

Reflecting on the triumph – a hard-fought, battling display in the challenging circumstances of a game full of drama and incident – Rodrigo also hailed the Champions’ resilience to have fought back.

“It was a tough game,” he added. “We faced an incredible team and that is why they are in that position.

“We have to say sometimes that we were not brilliant and they were better. It is not easy when you come to this stadium. Mikel [Arteta] has done an unbelievable job and you can see that with the way they play, their aggression.

“They were rested and had six days to prepare the game. We played three games in one week, travelling to London, back and then back to London.

“It is not easy but at the same time we have to learn that when we are not in that mood or that physicality, then we have to play simple and not make mistakes.

“In the first half, I think we made quite a lot of mistakes and we let them do their game.

“They are a top team and they showed why they are in fourth position. In my opinion, they were very, very good. They were a great team and they punished us in the first half.

“We have to accept that we will start losing 1-0 and we struggle a little bit in this situation because we are not used to conceding goals.

Arsenal v City: Full-match replay

“I am happy in the sense that we have to play these kinds of games. You just have to believe in yourself and we showed the personality that we have during the game.

“We showed our Champion mentality, we never give up. We were clever in the small details. For me, that is the good point.”

Despite holding a strong advantage atop the table, Rodrigo asserted City have no intentions of taking our foot off the gas, remaining fully focused on our own performances and results rather than those of our title challengers.

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“We will always challenge for the title,” he continued. “We know how tough it is to win the Premier League and we are not going to drop it.

“We don’t look at the others much and winning 11 games in a row, it shows that we are focused on ourselves.

“We will always focus on the game and try to be at our best. [Arsenal] showed us that when we drop a little bit; we had that luck and maybe in other games we have not.

“We have to improve in the sense that when we are not physically good, we have to play simple.

“It is a massive game for us and now we have a little bit of time to rest and to focus on the FA Cup.”

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