Guardiola wishes Blues showed ruthless streak

Sports | 21 Mar 2017

Sharper finishing is all that is required to take Manchester City to a higher level, manager Pep Guardiola said after a 1-1 Premier League draw with Liverpool.

Guardiola's cavalier approach came under scrutiny after City fell to a 3-1 defeat at Monaco last week. They were thus eliminated from the Champions League on away goals after a 6-6 aggregate draw.

A 69th-minute equalizer from Sergio Aguero meant City emerged with a point from a ding-dong battle with Liverpool, but Guardiola said a lack of ruthlessness holds the team back.

"We have clear chances in front of the goalkeeper and we don't score," he griped. "We have to be clinical."

Aguero's strike, from a superb cross by Kevin De Bruyne, canceled out a 51st-minute penalty from James Milner.

City squandered many chances late on, with Aguero particularly culpable, but Guardiola said there was nothing he could do about his team's profligacy.

"I was a football player 11 years and I scored 11 goals - one goal a year," he said with a smile. "So can you imagine what advice I can give to Sergio and the other guys about scoring goals?"

That City avoided defeat also owed much to an alert defensive display by oft-criticized center-back John Stones, who produced two important blocks either side of half-time.

Guardiola said City's enterprising display right after the Monaco disappointment made it one of his happiest days as a manager.

"More than ever I want to help this club," he added.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp retorted drily to Guardiola's sentiments: "He's Spanish. They're more emotional than the Germans."

Victory would have carried Liverpool above third-place City, but they remain a point behind them in fourth having played a game more and with fifth-placed Manchester United threatening to close in from below. They might have left with three points had Adam Lallana not miscued badly from a Roberto Firmino knock-down, taking a swipe at fresh air.

But Klopp defended him, saying: "Immediately after the game Adam said sorry to me and I thought 'Why?' I know why he thought he had to, but he doesn't have to because his performance was outstanding again."


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