Man City have a lot of points to make up after Wolves defeat, says Pep Guardiola

Press Association Sport 21:11 06/10/2019
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Pep Guardiola conceded his Manchester City side had a lot of points to make up after falling eight behind Premier League leaders Liverpool with a surprise loss to Wolves.

Two late goals from Adama Traore at the Etihad Stadium saw Wolves snatch an unlikely 2-0 win over the Premier League champions on Sunday.

The defeat was City’s second of the season and leaves Liverpool with a significant lead after only eight games of the campaign.

City manager Guardiola said: “It is a lot of points. They didn’t drop points. From many circumstances they haven’t dropped points.

“But when one team is eight points in front it is better not to think too much about that. It is better to think about what is next.

“It was a bad day, sometimes it happens. We started quite well and after we conceded, two situations in our build-up where it’s impossible to defend, we got a little bit nervous.

“We controlled them better in the second half but at the end, with us attacking and people up front, we lost balls in positions where it is so difficult and they were clinical.

“Before that we hit the post we had actions but the way we played was not good. It was not a good day, we didn’t play good.”

City’s defence had looked unsteady in the first half but Wolves spurned a handful of gilt-edged chances and it seemed they might pay the price as the hosts cranked up the pressure in the second half.

David Silva hit the woodwork from a free-kick but Wolves were resolute and pounced late on as Raul Jimenez twice teed up Traore for breakaway goals.

Guardiola said: “We lost to a good team that were really well organised, good physicality, strong in the air and so fast on the counter-attack.”

City were without playmaker Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy was also ruled out prior to the game with a hamstring injury.

Joao Cancelo started at left-back but further chances were necessary at half-time.

Guardiola said: “Kyle Walker could not continue in the second half. Kyle had an infection in his stomach.

“In the last weeks he didn’t train well. He lost a bit of weight and he made an incredible effort to play in that position.

“But at half-time he said he did not feel good so we made the substitution.”

Wolves’ victory was only their second in the Premier League this season and came after a midweek Europa League trip to Turkey.

Manager Nuno Espirito Santo said: “I’m very proud. It was a very good performance – but more than the performance was the work the players did.

“It is very difficult to play against City because they are so good and move the ball so fast. It requires a lot of high-speed running. The boys worked very hard and that was good.

“I am happy and satisfied because this is how we work. For all the games – and we have had 17 already – we always compete under our own gameplan.

“Sometimes we perform better than other days but the motivation to compete is always there.

“This is what makes me more proud – having a fantastic group of players that want to grow and believe in the way we work. Now we have a challenge to sustain this level.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Sloppy Man City pay heavy price and other talking points from Wolves defeat

Alam Khan - Reporter 20:00 06/10/2019
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Adama Traore’s first goals in 13 months gave Wolves their first win at Manchester City in 40 years.

The champions were stunned by two strikes from the Spaniard in the last 10 minutes as they remain eight points behind leaders Liverpool.

It was no more than the visitors deserved as they could have been three-up at half time.

The first wasted opportunity came when Traore’s pass from halfway found Patrick Cutrone clear, but the Italian sliced his finish horribly wide.

It then took a brilliant double block from Fernandinho to save City as he denied Raul Jimenez and then Cutrone’s rebound with his head.

Another poor pass from Nicolas Otamendi then saw Jimenez burst clear, but the Mexican went down in the box as he approached Ederson, claiming to have been clipped by the chasing Fernandinho.

City stepped up in the second half, but desperate defending from the visitors kept them out.

Rui Patricio was beaten in the 68th minute but relieved to see David Silva’s free kick hit the bar.

Traore then slipped a shot past Ederson for the opener before doing likewise in added time.

SLOPPY CITY PAY HEAVY PRICE

While leaders Liverpool are winning games without playing well, City are dropping points when least expected.

It would be easy to use the absence of the injured Kevin De Bruyne as the main reason.

Perhaps it is a case of focus – and this faltering, feeble performance should be another wake-up call for the champions if they are to have any hope of bagging a trophy in this campaign.

They were below par from back to front.

For Wolves to create three gilt-edged opportunities in the opening half hour offered an insight into City’s current vulnerability.

A run of five wins suggests they are back on form after the shock loss at Norwich, but it is clear they are still fine-tuning. They also cannot afford to be as sloppy.

Every one of those chances was a result of mistakes, be it the passes from Riyad Mahrez and Otamendi that went astray, or the positioning of Fernandinho and Otamendi when Traore released Cutrone clear on goal.

TRAORE FRONTS UP IN DETERMINED DISPLAY

The Europa League factor is always a worry when a club enters the competition for the first time and has to adapt with the flow of domestic games.

Wolves seem to have suffered with that and to see them standing just a point clear of the bottom three at the start of the day was a big surprise. They are better than that, as this determined display showed.

Had they been more clinical in attack they would have claimed victory with greater ease and embarrassed City.

Cutrone and Jimenez look too similar in their styles up front to play together and the absence of the injured Diogo Jota, a clever player, affected their balance. When Santos took off Cutrone and pushed the enigmatic Traore up front, it was better. With pace and power, Traore finally provided an end product here and needs to do it more.

CANCELO VERSATILITY COULD BE VITAL

Among Joao Cancelo’s first touches was a ball across his own box with the outside of his right foot to find Otamendi from the left-hand touchline.

It is not something Benjamin Mendy or Oleksandr Zinchenko would have done without incurring the wrath of their manager or panic among the supporters.

And that is perhaps why Cancelo was preferred at left back, a position that has caused much concern for Pep Guardiola.

If there were any positives for the City boss here, in a first half where he had to handle Traore, Cancelo showed enough quality and composure to suggest he would be adept on the left and the answer to City’s dilemma in this area.

In the second half he then switched to the right as Zinchenko replaced Kyle Walker. This versatile option on both flanks will be welcome as more challenges await.

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Adama Traore’s late brace earns Wolves shock victory at Man City

Press Association Sport 18:15 06/10/2019
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Adama Traore struck twice in the closing minutes as Wolves claimed a shock 2-0 win over champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

The Spaniard finished off a quick counter-attack 10 minutes from time and then broke away for another in stoppage time to leave Pep Guardiola’s side eight points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.

City were below par but had been piling on the pressure in search of a breakthrough and hit the bar through David Silva in the second half.

But Wolves were resolute and, after piercing City’s unsteady defence and spurning a number of gilt-edged chances in the first half, they finally made them pay late on.

The hosts paid for their indecisiveness as, despite having plenty of possession, they were unusually sluggish, particularly in the first half when their defence seemed at sixes and sevens. Were it not for some wasteful finishing by the Wolves forwards, they could easily have been trailing at the break.

Guardiola was again forced to play midfielder Fernandinho as a makeshift centre-back alongside Nicolas Otamendi, although there were times when it seemed as if the Brazilian was the specialist.

Otamendi made a number of errors while bringing in Joao Cancelo as City’s fourth starting left-back in four games in all competitions – with Benjamin Mendy ruled out injured – added further unfamiliarity to the back line.

City were caught napping after five minutes as Joao Moutinho played Patrick Cutrone through on goal. It was a glorious chance but the Italian attempted to curl beyond the advancing Ederson and sliced wide.

Wolves were presented with further chances as Riyad Mahrez gave the ball away but Fernandinho did brilliantly to block from Raul Jimenez and the follow-up effort from Cutrone.

Jimenez raced through again after Otamendi gave the ball away but Ederson came out to deny him, although the Wolves forward claimed he had been clipped by Fernandinho in the area.

Almost half an hour had gone before City had a first serious attempt on goal as Ilkay Gundogan shot wide from a free-kick.

Rui Patricio then produced a fine save to keep out a Raheem Sterling shot from the edge of the box and Cancelo blasted over.

Guardiola tried to tighten up at the back at half-time as he sent on Oleksandr Zinchenko for Kyle Walker and switched Cancelo to right-back. That solved one problem but Wolves remained firm at the other end and Guardiola introduced Bernardo Silva on the hour in the hope of finding a breakthrough.

City’s frustration became apparent as they protested vociferously after Wolves won a free-kick deep in their own half. Ederson joined in the complaints as play switched to the other end and was booked.

Guardiola’s side almost found a way through after 67 minutes when David Silva clipped the bar from a free-kick and the ensuring scramble saw Sergio Aguero, Sterling and Silva, again, all threaten but Wolves survived.

City cranked up the pressure and carved out another chance after a move down the right involving their third substitute, Gabriel Jesus, but Bernardo Silva’s close-range effort was blocked.

At times City were encamped in the Wolves half but that was to cost them as a quick break break by the visitors caught them completely off-guard 10 minutes from time.

Jimenez led the charge and skipped through an attempted challenge from Otamendi to square invitingly for the advancing Traore, who calmly slid the ball past Ederson.

City tried to respond but they could not find a way through and Traore finished things off with another breakaway goal in the dying seconds.

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