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Pep Guardiola has explained why Raheem Sterling was on penalty service instead of Kevin De Bruyne during Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Brighton.
Regular penalty taker De Bruyne won a penalty for City in second-half injury time after being fouled by Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, but it was substitute Sterling who stepped up to take it. However, the England international passed 12 yards.
“Kevin is the one taking, but he made an incredible effort, not just the action to pressure the goalkeeper and create the penalty, but for the rest of the previous actions,” Guardiola said (via Manchester evening news).
“He was fighting in the last 15 minutes because he was exhausted. I like the guys who take responsibility for the penalty. It was Raz and next time it will be better.”
The lack of a penalty was not costly, with City securing a 1-0 win thanks to a fabulously scored first-half goal by Phil Foden.
The product of the city academy cut inside Adam Webster with his first touch before sending a low effort to the bottom corner. The goal was Foden’s eighth of the season in all competitions, meaning he currently tops the City’s scoring charts.
“He’s 20 years old, just look at the statistics,” Guardiola said. BBC Sport. “The number of games he has played, the goals and assists he has created and compared to the biggest stars in English football, the number of games at his age. We are delighted.
“He’s a guy who can play both sides as a winger, like a false nine, he can play in the middle. He’s so, so smart in front of goal.”
“That’s why he deserves to play. Unfortunately, as coaches, we judge today’s performance, not what happened in the past. And today he played well, so maybe one day he will rest, but right now he deserves to play.”