Pep Guardiola Showers Praise on Key Manchester City Pair Following Sporting Lisbon Stalemate


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lauded James McAtee and Scott Carson for their respective displays in his side’s goalless draw against Sporting Lisbon in the return-leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday evening.

The Sky Blues fielded a relatively weaker squad in the second-leg of their Champions League knockout tie with Sporting Lisbon after gaining a five-goal advantage over Ruben Amorim’s men in their meeting in Portugal a few weeks ago.

Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Rodri and Jack Grealish all dropped to the bench after helping City claim a stylish 4-1 victory over Manchester United at the weekend, with De Bruyne and Mahrez each bagging a brace against their local rivals.

Despite dominating a series of decent chances, Pep Guardiola’s men were far from their usual. flowing best as they were held to a goalless draw against a well-drilled Sporting side ahead of a trip to Selhurst Park on Monday night.

With less than 20 minutes left on the clock on Wednesday evening, Scott Carson replaced Ederson between the sticks – which saw the home crowd give a grand reception to the veteran shotstopper, who last featured for the Premier League champions in a 4-3 win at Newcastle last season.

“He (Carson) deserves it, so important to us in the locker room. He helps Eddy (Ederson) and Zack (Steffen) be calm. People listen when he talks,” Guardiola said in his post-match press conference, after Carson made his first European outing since 2005 against the Portuguese side.

The Champions League tie saw Guardiola hand CJ Egan-Riley his first start in the Champions League in only his second senior appearance for his boyhood club, with Luke Mbete and James McAtee coming off the bench in the second-half as well.

“Macca (McAtee) is quite calm and a guy who is in a good direction. But yes, he got minutes in the second-half and has played previous games. He knows the rhythm. He has the quality but has to understand the position a bit better,” Guardiola added.