City pay the penalty for lack of practice

HERO: Everton goalkeeper Stekelenburg (in green) celebrates after saving spot-kicks by de Bruyne and Aguero.


    Oct 17, 2016

    City pay the penalty for lack of practice


    PEP Guardiola admitted his Manchester City players had not practised penalties before they missed two during a 1-1 draw at home to Everton.

    Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero both had spot-kicks saved by goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg before substitute Nolito's header earned a point for City.

    For Aguero, it was a second miss of the week, after he failed to convert a penalty for Argentina during a 1-0 World Cup qualifying defeat at home to Paraguay last Tuesday.

    Guardiola, though, insists he has bigger priorities than penalty practice, as he attempts to get his team back to form.

    Asked if his players had practised penalties, he said: "No. I don't have time to practise everything I want to practise.

    "You can practise penalties in training, but in training, no one (a crowd) is there.

    "In the final of the Champions League, that is crucial. If the player says, 'I want to be there' (to take the penalty), that is enough."

    Guardiola made a superb start to his reign as City manager, winning his first 10 matches in charge.

    However, his players have gone three games without a victory in all competitions, and face a daunting Champions League trip to his former club Barcelona on Thursday.

    Guardiola said it was his responsibility to try and restore confidence to his players if that was an issue.

    "I am not frustrated with the team. I am sad for the players. They deserve to win the game.

    "They did absolutely everything to win it," he said.