Pep Guardiola heaps praise on Sergio Aguero after win over Huddersfield

01 March 2017 11:53

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola had strong praise both for two-goal striker Sergio Aguero and under-fire goalkeeper Claudio Bravo after the 5-1 FA Cup fifth-round replay victory over Huddersfield.

Championship promotion-chasers Huddersfield grabbed a shock lead in the seventh minute at the Etihad Stadium through a Harry Bunn strike that Bravo should have done better with.

City then roared back in ruthless fashion as goals from Leroy Sane, Aguero - from the penalty spot - and Pablo Zabaleta had them 3-1 up by half-time.

Aguero subsequently added his second before substitute Kelechi Iheanacho wrapped things up late on.

Aguero, recently restored to the starting line-up following injury to Gabriel Jesus, has scored a brace in each of his last two appearances to take his goal tally for the season to 22.

And Guardiola said: "It is the best performance I have ever seen from Sergio in many things.

"He is good with the ball, if he is one against one, two against one, he doesn't miss the balls, he scored two goals, gave another one, created a lot of chances.

"When he plays in that level Sergio is unstoppable. We are so so happy the way he played today."

Bravo was back in the side having sat out five of the last six games. The Chilean had come out of the team after conceding six goals from as many shots across two matches in January.

Following his early error, he made a fairly decent save when Huddersfield - by then 3-1 down - had their next attempt on goal, blocking a Jack Payne shot with his legs just before the interval.

It prompted an enthusiastic response from City fans - although it was clear some of the cheering and clapping was sarcastic.

When that was put to Guardiola after the match, he said: "Ask the fans (about that), please.

"The performance from Claudio was amazing. He helped us to make a build-up - he read where the free man was, which is not easy to do. In moments he saved us and he gave us the continuity to play. What the fans express - I am not here to judge them."

Asked if he was worried Bravo's confidence could be undermined by that sort of thing, Guardiola said: "No, he is strong enough. This year he was nominated as one of the five best goalkeepers in the world.

"I am safe with both goalkeepers I have (Bravo and Willy Caballero). I know I can count on him, on his behaviour when he is playing and when he is not. I just congratulate him on how he played."

Guardiola, whose side will face Middlesbrough away in the quarter-finals, would not be drawn on whether Bravo would play in Sunday's Premier League match at Sunderland.

On City's display overall in a contest for which he made only four changes from the 5-3 Champions League win against Monaco, he said: "I'm satisfied with the performance from the players, from the goalkeeper to the striker. A lot of them were really good.

"We are still in the process to grow. I see many good things repeated game by game but still we are far away to be consistent and solid.

"But the last game we scored five goals, and today five again, so I think the people enjoyed how we played and we are so happy to be in the quarter-finals."

Huddersfield boss David Wagner, who watched the game from the stands due to a touchline ban, felt his side did not do themselves justice.

Wagner said: "Of course the start was positive because we went in front but we were not at our best, performance-wise.

"We have shown too much respect, unfortunately, against a very strong Manchester City side.

"Congratulations to Pep. The result was fair. We made too many easy mistakes when we had the ball and when we defended we were not aggressive enough. When you play against Manchester City you have to be very aggressive."

Source: PA