I felt we gave a very good account of ourselves
Burnley exited this season’s FA Cup at the Etihad Stadium today, beaten 4-1 by the current Premier League leaders Manchester City, and this having held a 1-0 interval lead.
But City came back with four second half goals, the first two in quick succession from Sergio Agüero. Manager Pep Guardiola said of his striker: “I have to say it’s an honour for me to have Sergio under my command. He’s the type of player who always wants to play. Sometimes he is sad if he isn’t playing. I want him to be happy.
“The quality he has is amazing. We have other players who can score, but he is the type of player who in a matter of seconds can scored two goals. If we want to win something, he is an essential player for us.”
Looking forward to a place in round four, he added: “I’m so happy. We played against Burnley in a tough cup tie. What they have done in the Premier League so far is amazing. I think over 90 it was quite good.
“Even in the first half, I didn’t have the feeling we weren’t playing good, just lacking the opportunity to score a goal. In the second half we had more focus. We could not concede corners or free kicks. They are a top team.
“We tried to win the game and we did it in the second half. Both goals were amazing, they were clever and quick. The second one was a magnificent assist with good dribbling and finishing.
“The players knew it was a knockout game. Win though, lost out. It is a prestigious competition the FA Cup, if you are not strong you cannot do that.”
Guardiola said: “I have a lot of respect for Sean Dyche and the way they play. They do it perfectly.”
“We know they have to start to open up and that can leave them open to the counter, but then it gets to a moment where, I imagine, the rules are probably in the referee’s favour. I don’t think he has to whistle, but at times you have to use common sense and that was such a moment.
“For one, Ashley Westwood is stood in front of the ball questioning the foul and then, four yards away, he is clearly asking the referee if he is going to blow. If they take the free kick and it hits Ashley, he gets booked, but it doesn’t, so that’s ok? The key point is that he is the player who would be in the slot where the pass goes for the goal, so I am bound to be aggrieved by that.
“I spoke to the referee afterwards and he said he doesn’t need to blow the whistle. I just suggested when you are an experienced referee, you know the difference on that moment and when it leads to a goal I think you can use your experience.”
That took the score to 1-1 and almost immediately it was 2-1 in City’s favour. “We got a little punch drunk from that moment and that’s definitely a learning curve for the future,” Dyche admitted.
“From that point, we had to go for it because it’s the FA Cup. We are not going to try and look for a lucky draw, but equally we have to protect our players.
“As they sometimes do, they get a few more chances and put them away, but overall they only had five shots on target and four goals, so that’s kind of a measure.
“Overall, I felt we gave a very good account of ourselves. We are at stretch today. We are missing players left, right and centre, but I thought to come to this team, who are flying, and take them on, was excellent. I was so, so pleased because I saw a team today that was fearless. The first 60 minutes were fantastic and I’m just a bit aggrieved about the one decision.”Follow UpTheClarets:
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