Pep Guardiola had every right to be furious with Claudio Bravo after Manchester City’s defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday night.
Bravo, who ironically was purchased from Barcelona by Manchester City in the summer, was sent-off in the 53rd minute of the contest at the Campo Nou, which immediately gave Barcelona the upper-hand as they ran-out 4-0 winners.
But Guardiola refused to blame Claudio Bravo after the match, insisting that he purchased the Chilean goalkeeper to play from the back and that the mistake that he made which led to his red card is just part and parcel of the process.
In the press conference after the match, Guardiola was asked about his playing style, which encourages his goalkeeper to be offensive and pass the ball short rather than just being able to save. This led Guardiola to go on the defensive, and insist that that he’ll never change his style.
According to the Guardian, Guardiola explained, “I’m sorry but until the last day of my career as a coach I will try to play from our goalkeeper. There are moments you have to kick the ball out and against Everton on Saturday we played four or five times the long ball. But he tried to play it and sometimes this happens.”
Guardiola continued, “There will be no change [of goalkeeper]. It stays the same. Football is a game of mistakes. He knows what he did. He has a lot of experience and he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the last 10 years. I don’t have doubts about him. He’s disappointed but he will learn from that.”
Claudio Bravo was sent off in the match when in the 52nd minute he ran out of the goal even though he had defenders in front of him. Around 25 yards outside of the goal, Bravo then sloppily passed the ball straight to Barcelona forward Luis Suarez, and the Uruguayan immediately tried to lob the ball over the keeper. Instinctively, Bravo lifted up his hands to stop the ball going over him, but as he was outside of the goal, it led to a red card.
Before this point, Manchester City had only fallen behind after Lionel Messi took advantage of a Fernandinho slip in the 17th minute. City were competitive in the first half of the contest, but then Bravo’s red card led to the match disintegrating for them.
Guardiola admitted in the same interview that this was the pivotal part of the contest, and as soon as they went down to 10 men it was over. “It’s difficult enough to play Barcelona with 11 men. With 10 the game was over,” Guardiola insisted.
“Up to that point there aren’t many regrets. We’d created enough chances and arrived at the byline many times. We played with huge personality and we did create two or three clear chances,” Guardiola continued, before then declaring that there were many positives to take.
“We are a new club,” he continued. “Getting to know each other in a process. My perception is that we did well, knowing where we’ve come from and who we are. We’ve been brave. We started really well in the second half and then to play 10 versus 11 and to go 2-0 down – it’s so complicated. When Messi, Neymar, and Suarez attack you, it’s very complicated. They punish you.”
Neymar, Suarez, and especially Messi, did just that, with the Argentinian going on to score a hat-trick in the contest. Following on from his opener, Messi then curled home a shot into the bottom corner in the 61st minute, before he scored a third in the 69th minute. Barcelona could even afford to have Jeremy Mathieu sent off with 17 minutes left and for Neymar to miss a penalty before the Brazilian scored a fourth for the Catalans in the 89th minute to complete the rout.
[Featured Image by David Ramos/Getty Images]