chroniclelive: Pep Guardiola reminded his players that they ‘always suffer’ in the ‘last periods’ against Newcastle United – and the Man City boss was pleased with how his side ‘maintained’ Andy Carroll in their FA Cup quarter-final win.
The holders have a semi-final against Arsenal to look forward to in the capital next month after a comfortable 2-0 victory at St James’ Park.
It was Guardiola’s first win on Tyneside since December, 2017 and although substitute Dwight Gayle had a glorious opportunity to equalise for Newcastle midway through the second half, it said it all about the visitors’ quality that Raheem Sterling doubled City’s advantage just a minute later.
Guardiola noted that ‘football is the only game in the world that the opponent can have one shot on target and can win the game’, but the Catalan was keen to point out ‘when one team does more than the opponent, always you are closer to winning’.
“The result was open – it was not close. Sometimes to keep the concentration at 3-0, 4-0 or 5-0 is more difficult,” he told reporters on a Zoom call after the game.
“When the result is at 1-0, anything can happen. I think we were fully concentrated all game and we had a good performance.
“We always suffer against Newcastle in the last periods. The game was quite similar to the ones we played.
“In the first half, we controlled, we scored a goal and the previous times it always happens: the last 20 minutes change and sometimes they draw and sometimes they win.
“That’s why we knew it, we spoke about this, so we were fully committed and being in London again in the semi-final of the FA Cup is incredible for us.”
Having had just 24 per cent possession, Newcastle only one shot on target during the whole game and that was Andy Carroll’s long-range effort in the first half, which City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo comfortably dealt with.
City defenders Aymeric Laporte and Nicolas Otamendi certainly did their homework on Carroll after the 31-year-old got the nod to lead the line from the start for the first time since December.
“Well, it’s not easy because Andy Carroll’s incredibly strong with the long balls and headers,” Guardiola added. “I said to them if you want to fight and try to win, win but if we don’t lose because they won the position, don’t worry.
“It was important to maintain him far away outside of the 18-yard box and we did it.”
Source: Published by chroniclelive