Guardiola defends Agüero after fluffed Panenka opens door to Chelsea win

  • ‘He’s selfish because he missed – if he scores he’s a genius’
  • Chelsea fightback leaves Manchester City waiting for title

Pep Guardiola refused to blame Sergio Agüero for his failed Panenka penalty as Manchester City missed the chance to be crowned champions following a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea, though the manager admitted no one on City’s team expected the striker to try the technique.

City were leading 1-0 from a Raheem Sterling goal when Agüero tried the audacious chipped spot-kick just before the break, tamely floating the ball straight to Édouard Mendy, who did not move and so caught it with ease.

Second-half strikes from Hakim Ziyech and Marcos Alonso sealed a Chelsea win that keeps City 13 points ahead of Manchester United, who travel to Aston Villa today.

Defeat for United against Villa will mean City are crowned champions. A draw for United would leave them 12 points behind City with four games to play and a far inferior goal difference. Yet if Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side win at Villa Park and then defeat Leicester on Tuesday and Liverpool on Thursday, the gap will be reduced to four points by the time City travel to Newcastle on Friday.

Guardiola was asked if Agüero was selfish to attempt the Panenka in such an important match. “Listen, he’s selfish because he missed it. If he scores a goal we say he’s a genius,” said the manager. “He took the decision – no-one expects it – but it’s right, the taker has to take responsibility.

“I always say to the players: ‘Take the decision and be convinced.’ He’s a sensible guy. We don’t have to talk about what Sergio did for the club.

“We don’t know what would have happened if he had scored – but we cannot deny 2-0 at half-time is different.”

Of the title Guardiola said: “We have another three chances matches to be champions, we have to learn from this and carry on. Now we have a final at Newcastle.”

Thomas Tuchel has now guided Chelsea to wins over City in the FA Cup and Premier League. Before Alonso’s late winner both Guardiola and Raheem Sterling believed the latter should have been awarded a penalty when Kurt Zouma challenged him.

Tuchel, however, waved away those claims and pointed to a potential red card for Sterling in the first half.

“I heard it was lucky for Raheem Sterling to be on the field then because of a huge foul on Timo Werner. There is no reason to talk about the referee.”

The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email.

City play Chelsea in the Champions League final at the end of the month in Istanbul.

“These experiences, wins catch the momentum and increase our self confidence,” Tuchel said.


Jamie Jackson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Pep Guardiola worried by Agüero injury, praises Lampard as ‘brave manager’
Pep Guardiola could be without Sergio Agüero for a some of the ‘toughest part of our season’ after the Manchester City striker suffered a suspected muscle injury

Jamie Jackson at the Etihad Stadium

23, Nov, 2019 @9:26 PM

Article image
Pep Guardiola sorry for City fracas but refuses to blame Sergio Agüero
‘It is a pity it finished like this. I would like to apologise,’ Guardiola said after defeat to Chelsea but claimed Aguero’s red-card challenge on David Luiz was not intentional

Daniel Taylor at the Etihad Stadium

03, Dec, 2016 @6:46 PM

Article image
Pep Guardiola lends his sympathy to ‘sad’ Sergio Agüero
Sergio Agüero was unhappy not to play in the Manchester derby recently and Pep Guardiola said: ‘I understand the feelings but I respect Sergio’

Jamie Jackson at the Etihad Stadium

23, Dec, 2017 @7:37 PM

Article image
Sergio Agüero to start against Barcelona in Champions League, says Guardiola
Pep Guardiola has confirmed Sergio Agüero will start against Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday as Manchester City seek to put their 4-0 Camp Nou defeat behind them

Alan Smith at The Hawthorns

29, Oct, 2016 @6:54 PM

Article image
Sergio Agüero’s rush of blood gives Thomas Tuchel a day to savour | Barney Ronay
Manchester City will still win the title but this was a win of genuine significance for Chelsea’s German coach

Barney Ronay

08, May, 2021 @8:27 PM

Article image
Pep Guardiola defends City team selection after FA Cup exit to Chelsea
Pep Guardiola dismissed suggestions that he did not pay enough attention to the FA Cup after Manchester City’s hopes of winning an unprecedented quadruple were ended by Chelsea

Ed Aarons

17, Apr, 2021 @8:15 PM

Article image
Agüero shows his enduring class even as Guardiola finds new ways to win | Paul Doyle
Manchester City’s manager has stimulated a team that looked broken – and did so again against Crystal Palace

Paul Doyle

01, May, 2021 @6:00 PM

Article image
Sergio Agüero out to prove his value in Manchester City’s finishing stretch | Paul Wilson
Sergio Agüero may see himself in the shop window, as opposed to a player with a long-term Manchester City future, but four goals in his last two outings speak for his sharpness

Paul Wilson

04, Mar, 2017 @10:00 PM

Article image
Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola can take positives from Barcelona defeat
Pep Guardiola can reflect that his side played well at Barcelona – despite the 4-0 defeat – as they prepare to face Southampton in the Premier League

Paul Wilson

22, Oct, 2016 @9:30 PM

Article image
Pressure on José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola to produce title challenges | Jamie Jackson
United and City expect far better for Manchester than last season while Premier League champions Chelsea hoped Morata’s goals could retain their crown

Jamie Jackson

05, Aug, 2017 @12:39 PM