The Argentinian scored the only goal as his side reached the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday.
Matchwinner. Club legend. That is not enough to save you from a”mad” conversation with Manchester City director Pep Guardiola.
Club record goalscorer Sergio Aguero made the sole breakthrough in the fifth round FA Cup victory over Sheffield Wednesday to keep City’s extraordinary run of national cup wins.
However, 20 minutes after his low shot eventually broke down the Championship side’s stubborn resistance, Aguero was replaced by Raheem Sterling and he and his manager seemed to have an animated discussion as the striker headed towards the dugout.
Guardiola hasn’t lost a national cup tie in over two decades but can not stop giving advice. The City striker joked afterward he knows exactly how concentrated his manager is.
“He says when Riyad [Mahrez] or Bernardo [Silva] receives the ball merely to move in behind the centre-backs, he’s focused on this,” the Argentinian told the BBC. “It’s fine, he’s fine. Always a fantastic manager and mad!”
With the Carabao Cup already in the bag, and a Champions League quarter-final set a realistic proposal following last week’s 2-1 win away at Real Madrid, Guardiola did not want extra-time. Especially with the Manchester derby coming up this Sunday.
“I substituted him for Rash to make moves more in the distance and we spoke about the spaces he wants to attack and his teammates did not find him,” he said. “I love to be a mad and a fantastic manager at precisely the identical time. I really like it!”
Guardiola and City are definitely very good right now. They have won their last five games in all competitions with a cup treble nevertheless a significant possibility. However, the draw that followed soon after the Hillsborough success gave them a visit to Newcastle United and a floor at which the Spaniard has mixed memories.
City endured a disjointed defeat at St James’ Park in January 2019 at a game that looked as though it would end their hopes of a title defence until they won their next 14 matches to claim the Premier League with a stage. They slipped up there again this year when they could not hold on to a lead despite Kevin De Bruyne’s 82nd minute goal, in a match that ended 2-2.
“What’s important is that we’re there,” Guardiola said when asked about a return to Newcastle. “We want to be in the draw, we’re in the draw.
“Following a week this is our fourth game off in a row and we’ve got another one on Sunday in Old Trafford.
“We spent lots of mental energy past games and then came here. The players were absolutely prepared, we did not concede one shot on goal which means a lot because they can always create something.”
Matches are coming fast. The league clash with Arsenal, postponed for the League Cup final, has been rearranged for Wednesday, March 11, despite it clashing with the Champions League calendar.
A date for a visit to Chelsea will also need to be found today, with their match scheduled for quarter-final weekend, while the semi-final takes place on exactly the exact same day as Newcastle were assumed to be visiting the Etihad Stadium. That will also be postponed using one of them sure to be in the past four.
However, Guardiola would rather have a lot of matches than too few.
“We can’t win the league, we’ve got the FA Cup and Champions League so we knew it,” he added. “it is a final, we ready for that, we discuss this game and in the end we had success.
“It’s far better to go [into Old Trafford] winning games, being in the FA Cup than being outside and tomorrow we are going to watch a little bit of United versus Derby, reevaluate what they have done the previous game and we are going to go there to attempt and win.”
There is plenty of methods of Guardiola’s insanity.