Newcastle United 0 Manchester City 4: Guardiola unhappy with performance despite eighth successive league victory

By Ric Turner, Wed 22 December 2021 11:26

Newcastle United 0 Manchester City 4: Guardiola unhappy with performance despite eighth successive league victoryWin sees Blues secure top spot in Premier League table for Christmas

FA Premier League
Sunday 19 December 2021, 14.00 KO

City: Ederson, Cancelo, Zinchenko, Dias (Stones 70), Laporte, Rodri (Fernandinho 68), Silva, De Bruyne, Mahrez (Palmer 77), Sterling, Jesus
Unused: Steffen, Ake, Gundogan, Grealish, Foden, Wilson-Esbrand
Goals: Dias (5), Cancelo (27), Mahrez (64), Sterling (86)
Booked: Rodri, Silva

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Man of the match: Cancelo

City manager Pep Guardiola was critical of his players following the victory at St James Park, despite securing top spot in the league ahead of the busy Christmas period.

Ruben Dias gave the visitors the lead in the fifth minute following a defensive mix-up between Ciaran Clark and Martin Dúbravka, before Joao Cancelo doubled the lead with a fine individual effort in the 27th minute.

The Blues secured the three points with second-half goals from Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling, but Guardiola was unhappy with the way his side performed.

"It was an exceptional result and not a good performance at all – especially in the first half,' Guardiola said. 'The way we played in the first half was one of the poorest of the season.

"The quality of the players made the difference but that is not the way we want to play.

"Of course, in this type of game when you're not so brilliant or consistent - you miss simple things – you take the result. What we missed were the simple things, not the complicated things.'

"It made me happy for the fact that we will not be distracted for this short run of victories," he added. "I realised there is a margin for us to become a better team. The first half was dangerous really. Every player was not completely focused.

"We are proud. We've broken a record today but I am still aware of the margin we have to be better. We're working on that."

"We were lucky with the goal we scored at the beginning, the Newcastle defenders misunderstood and were confused. The second goal was brilliant from Joao [Cancelo]."

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe was disappointed that his side weren't awarded a penalty after Ederson collided with Ryan Fraser.

"I'm not the type of manager that looks for excuses or to blame the officials but it is another clear moment, a big moment in the game, that has gone against us," Howe said. 

"I'm shaking my head at it because the goalkeeper is out of control, he's wiped Ryan out. How VAR hasn't intervened or how they haven't come to that decision is a really strange one."

City's next game is against Leicester City at The Etihad on Boxing Day. The game isn't scheduled to be televised, but will be available on many football streaming platforms.

Newcastle, meanwhile, face Manchester United at home on 27th December and need to start accruing points if they are to avoid relegation this season.