Pep stands by Bravo despite gaffe

LONDON • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Claudio Bravo is among the best goalkeepers in the world will the ball at his feet, but remains unsure about picking him.

Bravo was recalled for his first Premier League appearance since Jan 21 as Hull were beaten 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday but the Chilean was at fault for the visitors' consolation goal.

Asked why he had recalled Bravo at the expense of Willy Caballero, Guardiola compared Bravo to Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer.

"I decide that. I will decide game by game and today I decided that," he told reporters. "Claudio is the best goalkeeper in the world, with ter Stegen and Manuel Neuer, in terms of the build-up with the feet. He help us a lot to create good build-up."

Bravo went into the match with an unwanted record of failing to save the last six shots on target he had faced in league matches. Unfortunately for him, that run was extended to seven, as he allowed Andrea Ranocchia's tame shot to squeeze past him five minutes from the end.

  • Claudio Bravo has failed to save the last seven shots on target he has faced in the Manchester City goal. The latest blot came against Andrea Ranocchia of Hull City on Saturday.

City were in command by that stage, with Ahmed Elmohamady's own goal followed in the second half by strikes from Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph.

"In terms of how we defend, the goal for Hull City is what has happened this season in our box. It is not about having the quality to defend, it is about the mentality," said Guardiola.

"I don't like the defenders to just defend and the strikers just to score goals. I like everybody involved in the way we want to play.

"Defensively it is about mentality and on many, many occasions, we are not strong enough."

City remain in fourth place, and on course to qualify for next season's Champions League. But the Spaniard is of the view that his team will have to go to the final match of the campaign to secure that prize.

"I am pretty sure it is going to go to the end," he said. "We are going to fight against Arsenal and (Manchester) United and Liverpool to qualify."

Hull head coach Marco Silva acknowledged his team were second best.

They remain outside the relegation places because Swansea lost 0-1 at West Ham.

"City deserved to win," he said. "We didn't put on a good performance."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2017, with the headline 'Pep stands by Bravo despite gaffe'. Print Edition | Subscribe