LEIPZIG, Germany — Crisis? What disaster?
Manchester City have misplaced consecutive video games solely 5 occasions throughout Pep Guardiola’s reign as supervisor and solely as soon as did it flip into three in a row.
RB Leipzig may have doubled that statistic on Wednesday within the Champions League, which got here after Man City’s back-to-back defeats to Newcastle and Wolves. As Leipzig scored simply after halftime, it regarded doable — however as an alternative Guardiola’s workforce safely navigated their most tough Group G away recreation with a 3-1 win.
Just like that, all the things is back to normal for Man City.
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The reigning Champions League winners have made a behavior of cruising by means of the group stage of this competitors, reaching not less than the knockout rounds in every of the final 10 years. After selecting up six factors from two video games, they continue to be on target to do it once more.
Man City centreback Rúben Dias stated on Tuesday that the “only thing more beautiful than one Champions League is two,” a nod that City are already desirous about repeating after they lifted the trophy in Istanbul in June.
“I’m really satisfied,” stated Guardiola after Wednesday’s win. “It was a tough game. Three or four days ago, it was not good because we lost to Wolves. It was important to break that…
“I depend on these guys unconditionally, profitable or not profitable, as a result of I do know in coaching the mentality they’ve. Hopefully we will arrive in March, April, May being there shut to the competitions. I’ve a sense we won’t be a simple opponent to beat.”
City lost the experience of midfielder Ilkay Gündogan and winger Riyad Mahrez over the summer, and captain Kevin De Bruyne has been ruled out with a hamstring injury until the new year. But it’s meant youngsters like Phil Foden and Rico Lewis are able to take on a more central role. The pair, both graduates from City’s academy, were the best players on the pitch in the first half.
Foden, playing centrally in the absence of De Bruyne, almost set up an early goal for Bernardo Silva — back in the team after injury — with a pass that skidded across the Leipzig goal, but then he found the net himself 10 minutes later on.
Lewis, also playing high up in midfield, bounced passes off Silva, carried on running, and then crossed for Foden to bounce his finish into the net.
Lewis is still only 18, but for large periods of the first half he was running the game against one of the best teams in the Bundesliga. Foden’s ability to drift into the gaps in Leipzig’s lines and take possession in tight areas made it easier than it should have been. But it was still a night when Lewis out-shone the other young midfielder on show, 20-year-old Xavi Simons on loan at Leipzig from Paris Saint-Germain.
“He performed good, eh?” said Guardiola, when asked about Lewis’ impact. “What a participant. What a participant — 18 years previous. I’ve been a supervisor for years, coaching unbelievable gamers, to discover a participant like him within the pockets, he is likely one of the greatest I’ve ever educated.
“I’ve spoken to the others and they like him. When you win, you gain the respect of your mates. That’s more important than the media or whatever. If your mates can rely on you, you are in heaven. That’s the most important thing.
“He has it and that is the important thing level. They know they will depend on him. When you play inside you have got 360 levels [vision] and it’s the most tough place to play. He’s an enormous expertise. He deserves all of the reward.”
It regarded for some time within the second half that, identical to within the last-16 tie right here in February, City’s good begin could be canceled out by a Leipzig comeback after half-time however even when Erling Haaland — who has now gone 5 Champions League video games with no aim — is not as sharp as regular, Guardiola nonetheless has the luxurious of bringing on a World Cup winner in Julián Álvarez.
In simply 11 minutes on the pitch after approaching at 1-1, the Argentinian scored a stunner, curling his end into the highest nook from a good house within the penalty space, after which raced away to lay on the third aim for Jérémy Doku in stoppage time.
“In 10 or 15 minutes, his impact is massive,” stated Guardiola. “A player who is a world champion, it’s because he’s a good player. It was an outstanding goal.”
One of the issues that makes City so formidable is that even when not everybody is kind of at their greatest, there at all times appears to be somebody who’s.
Between them, Foden, Lewis and Alvarez had been sufficient to ensure there was by no means any real looking chance of a 3rd defeat in a row and ensured Guardiola and his gamers head to Arsenal on Sunday with normality restored.