Great result – Wilfried Zaha and Conor Gallagher were both really impressive, what did you make of them?
Yeah, I think both of them like the rest of the players worked really hard. We knew that coming to City, we’re not going to have the possession. So we have to work really well as a team, and we couldn’t allow ourselves to have one player not taking part of the defensive work. I’m really pleased, of course, for Wilfried for the goal that he scored. But I’m really pleased even more about how he worked with the rest of the teams to make it difficult for City.
What kind of a relief is it to get the victory having come so close to winning against Brighton and against Arsenal in particular?
We knew that we were really close to winning football matches. And you know, what we were proposing, football-wise, I think in possession was quite really interesting. But we knew as well that it wasn’t enough, because when you want to win it is important first not to concede a goal. Today I think we worked really well, we worked hard. And when you come to a place like City and you don’t concede a goal and on the other side you are taking chances, then that’s really good. But today, I’m actually really pleased because I saw a side of the team that I didn’t see before. And I’m really happy that we showed that we are capable of defending well and defending well together.
Michael Olise an attacking change at the end as opposed to James Tomkins introduction vs Arsenal – wanted to not sit back?
It’s the quality of the teams that we’re facing as well, we know that we have to keep trying to score that second goal. And we know that Michael is doing really well at the moment, he is working well in training. We know as well that with the space that there will be in a game, with the quality that he has, that he can create something or can score you goals. So that was a good decision from the staff.
Laporte sending off helped?
I think it was just a decision that I would not want to say went in our favour. People may think it was harsh or not harsh, and let people make their own opinion. But when you come to a place like City, you have to expect to suffer and you have to hope that some of the decisions will go in your favour. And those ones are really important as we knew that we were not going to create a lot of chances. But when we had the chance to score goals, it was important for us to take it and that’s what we did today. So the decision – yes it went in our favour. and when you’re looking at all the games we play so far, we’ve been really unlucky. And today, it went in our favour and we have to be pleased with that.
Clean sheet and three points in the champions’ backyard – how does that feel?
I think it’s really good when you come into a place like that, and you have a game plan and we stick to it and the players do even more than what we plan. We had so many blocks, we stopped crosses. Every time they managed to do a cut back there were players there. We made it very difficult for them and we stuck together in a difficult period. I think that this is why we didn’t concede today. I really want to praise the personality and the work ethic of the team today.
Your Arsenal sides were renowned for being difficult to break down and being very good in transition was that just a coincidence that this was more or less the same game plan, being resolute at the back and taking the chances like your Arsenal side used to do?
I don’t want to compare any generation or any teams, but 99% of the teams when they come to the Etihad, they will spend the majority of time defending. And we had to accept that and we did it today. And I think at times we did it really well. So we have to be really proud about ourselves with the way we defended and not conceding a goal. It’s a really good achievement for the team. So we show as well that we have this kind of resilience to put our bodies on the line to stop the goals and this is the side of the game that we did to show at the start of the season. So we showed that we can do that for a now what is important is to get this kind of confidence to be even better as a team.
I’m sure your squad was a bit disappointed after the result against Arsenal and Newcastle. What did you say to make sure they weren’t demoralised?
We knew that the luck at the end of the season is always going to be in the middle. So it was important for us to keep working the same way we’ve been doing it week after week, to believe in ourselves and the way we want to play the game,. We knew that we needed to improve our game out of possession and we believed that we conceded a little bit too many goals to win or to allow ourselves to win football matches. And today, we defended well against one of the best teams in Europe – the best team in the Premier League. That’s why I really wanted my players to enjoy that moment because we showed the side of the game that is important for us to win football matches.
You called for your side to be more clinical in recent games. So how pleased are you to say that it finally clicked up front and also at the back have managed to remain concentrated to hold on to the win?
We talked a lot this week about how many numbers of chances that we created and not scoring enough. Today we knew that we will not create as much as we will want to, but those couple of chances that we are going to create will be very important for us to take it. Wilfried taking his chance was important for us. After that, we defended really well. I think the back four had a terrific game. When you look at Jordan [Ayew] or [Odsonne] Edouard on the other side coming to play the two against one, because we know the strength in the one vs one. When you look at the way that Wilfried worked upfront. You know this is the spirit that we have at the moment in our football club.
Wilfried as lone striker
In the one vs one Wilfried is a really dangerous player and he can stretch the opposition team by running behind. And that was the decision that we made and it worked today. And now I think it’s good to to show to the players that we have an interesting team and it’s important for them to understand that anybody can bring some things to the to the team.
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