Sunny start for Sane, Pep praise for Silva

LONDON • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola saw Leroy Sane make a triumphant return to his starting line-up in a 3-0 victory over Fulham at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, but reserved special praise for Man-of-the-Match Bernardo Silva.

The Portuguese playmaker saw his first-team starts limited as City won the Premier League title last season but he has made a strong start to the new campaign.

He was magnificent as City continued an unbeaten start to their title defence against promoted Fulham, with the only thing missing from his display a goal.

"It's almost impossible to be more pleased with him as a manager," said Guardiola. "That's why he deserves to play all the minutes he's playing.

"He played a lot last season, but not in the starting line-up, and I don't forget his behaviour in front of his teammates last season."

The rout started after just 98 seconds when a poorly-placed pass from Jean Michael Seri was intercepted by Fernandinho, who advanced and crossed for new father Sane to tap into an open goal.

It was the German international's first start of the season at the end of a frustrating four months in which he was left out of his country's World Cup squad and, this past week, had his attitude criticised by Germany team-mate Toni Kroos.

"In the period he didn't play, we never doubted Leroy's quality," Guardiola insisted.

"He showed us many times, especially last season, and today he played so good again. We can't forget this kind of thing can happen."

After the opening goal, City dominated after more outstanding play from Bernardo, before David Silva shot high into the net from close range in the 21st minute.

Raheem Sterling then sealed the victory with City's third goal two minutes after the interval.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2018, with the headline 'Sunny start for Sane, Pep praise for Silva'. Print Edition | Subscribe