Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City deserved controversial win over Wolves

Referee Jon Moss’ penalty decision and a bizarre red card for Wolves’ Raul Jimenez were the talking points after the game.

Andy Hampson
Saturday 11 December 2021 15:55
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Pep Guardiola was satisfied with his side’s win despite the controversy (Richard Sellers/PA)
Pep Guardiola was satisfied with his side’s win despite the controversy (Richard Sellers/PA)

Pep Guardiola brushed aside controversy as he hailed his Manchester City side’s hard-fought 1-0 win over 10-man Wolves on Saturday.

Raheem Sterling settled an ill-tempered contest at the Etihad Stadium by netting his 100th Premier League goal from a contentiously awarded penalty in the second half.

That came after Wolves striker Raul Jimenez had been sent off in the latter stages of the first period after collecting two bookings in quick succession.

“We were better with 11 players and we were better with 10 players,” said City manager Guardiola.

“It is difficult to play against a team that don’t want to play. They are so good defending and we knew how tough it would be but we didn’t lose patience.

“They want you to destruct and they can punish you but we were good and it was a good result for us.

“We conceded just one chance after 93 or 94 minutes.”

Guardiola did not have a strong opinion on the spot-kick decision itself but had no doubts about Jimenez’s dismissal.

The game’s decisive moment came on 66 minutes after Joao Moutinho was adjudged to have blocked a Bernardo Silva cross with his arm. Wolves were incensed, claiming the ball had hit the Portuguese midfielder’s armpit but the decision stood after a VAR review.

Jimenez was earlier shown a first yellow card for a challenge on Rodri then was immediately booked again for blocking the taking of the resulting free-kick.

“The first yellow card was the same as the yellow cards we conceded from Rodri and Ruben Dias,” said Guardiola. “The second yellow card was completely fair.

“The penalty I saw on the field but I didn’t see it again on TV. People say it is half-half.”

Sterling’s landmark goal was his fifth strike in eight appearances, underlining his recent return to form after an indifferent start to the season.

Guardiola said: “It is a great number. At his age 100 goals is a lot. Big congratulations to him and the same to Ederson for his 100th clean sheet.

“Raheem has always been important but players have to understand there are highs and lows in a career.

“I’m unfair sometimes because they perform well and don’t play and I have no excuse but to say, ‘I’m sorry’.

“But sometimes if they don’t perform well I have to play another one. Of course he has scored goals lately, important goals, and the way he has performed has been really good.”

Wolves boss Bruno Lage was not happy with the decisions which went against his side.

Lage said: “They were both very hard decisions and they cost us a lot.

“It was not a penalty for me. It is very strange, the referee’s decision and the VAR decision.”

On the Jimenez dismissal, it was specifically the first yellow card Lage had an issue with.

Raul Jimenez’s initial booking frustrated manager Bruno Lage (Richard Sellers/PA)

He said: “He didn’t touch the man and we had 10 men behind the ball.”

Of the second booking, however, he said: “He knows he cannot do that.”

Lage preferred to look at the positive aspects of the game.

He said: “I think our team came to play our game. We knew they would have more ball but we defended very well and when we had the ball we tried to create chances.

“For 45 minutes we were very happy but then the second half was different. We still tried our best and had two chances in the end.

“We tried to win points and I am proud of the players.”

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