If you’re a football fan, you were likely happy to see the UEFA Champions League return with the Round of 16 this week. The new stage of the competition started with two matches fans have been looking forward to seeing, with one eye constantly on the Betway app to catch the best odds for the matches. And one of the matches truly delivered: Manchester City, one of the favourites of the tournament, has completely humiliated Portuguese team Sporting, scoring five goals against their zero.
The victory was certainly resounding – but Man City manager Pep Guardiola is still not happy with the performance of some players in his team.
Guardiola was quoted saying earlier that Manchester City takes every single game seriously, no matter how strong or weak the opponent may be. This much was obvious during the opening of the Citizens’ match against Sporting this week: the English team began the match with an amazing display of attack and continued to do so throughout the game. The entire match was one-sided, clearly dominated by the English side, which has translated into five goals by the end of the match.
But Pep Guardiola was seen display a “frustrated figure” during the game, especially in the first half of the match. All this in spite of the fast and overwhelming football Manchester City has played throughout the game.
As it turns out, Guardiola was unhappy about the passes. Man City is famous for the precision of the players – but in the first half of the game against Sporting, it seemed that the players were letting themselves go a bit. These small imperfections gave Sporting – a valuable team, by the way, that has moved the ball with skill and precision across open spaces – to counter in the opening exchanges in the match.
“Some players underperformed and we lost easy balls but we were so clinical,” Guardiola said in the post-game interview, quoted by ManCity.com. “We saw in the first five or six minutes how good [Sporting] are. The difference between the two teams is not 5-0 but we were so clinical.”
At the same time, the Spanish manager has warned the team not to become overweening about their good performance. “It’s just a game with a fantastic result. We have one more game to be in the quarter-finals and this is what you want. The players know me and the way we work that we can do better.”
And at the end, he couldn’t help but wrap a bit of scolding in the praise he gave his team: “ I’m incredibly happy, please don’t misunderstand me, but we can do better,” he said.