Sport Soccer

Saturday 21 July 2018

Pep Guardiola hails ‘perfect night’ for record-breaking Manchester City

The Premier League champions set three more records with a 3-1 win over Brighton.

Kolo Toure presents Yaya Toure with a plaque
Kolo Toure presents Yaya Toure with a plaque

By Phil Medlicott, Press Association Sport

Pep Guardiola hailed a “perfect night” after Yaya Toure’s Etihad Stadium farewell saw champions Manchester City set a hat-trick of Premier League records with a 3-1 win over Brighton.

City moved onto 97 points and 105 goals for the season as they registered their 31st win of the campaign – all three are new records for the competition.

On what was his final home appearance as a City player, veteran midfielder Toure, who is leaving the club at the end of the season after eight years of service, captained the side.

His name was chanted throughout the contest, there was a huge cheer when he was substituted late on and the crowd also showed their appreciation for the 34-year-old Ivorian during a post-match presentation on the pitch involving his brother and former City team-mate Kolo Toure.

City boss Guardiola said: “97 points, a lot of goals, a lot of wins – that’s a consequence of the season we have done. It’s good.

“Now it’s one more game (away against Southampton on Sunday), we’re going to try for 100 points and finish this almost perfect season in the Premier League.

“It’s fantastic because we did that (break the records) in the day we always will remember – the day for Yaya.

“You know, Yaya does not leave the club because always he’ll be part of it. He lives only a short time from here, and he’s loved, from what I felt today in the crowd, and the people in locker room now.

“His speech (during the presentation) was absolutely amazing. So we are delighted. It was a perfect night for us.”

Guardiola, who also said he was “so happy” to hear Sir Alex Ferguson is out of intensive care, added: “I completely agree when people say to be considered one of the best or the best, we have to win more.

“To be alongside, for example, (Manchester) United in the 90s, or Liverpool, we have to win more.

“In the end, we have won one Premier League – three in six years, but in this moment just one. They won a lot of things.

“But in terms of statistics and numbers, this season we were the best, and that’s why we are so satisfied. Once, a team will arrive and do better than us, but they will have to do really good.”

Danilo put City ahead and after Leonardo Ulloa equalised, Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho also got on the scoresheet for City. Leroy Sane provided assists for all three City goals.

Guardiola suggested City can get “a lot” better, and said of PFA Young Player of the Year Sane: “What I like the most with Leroy, seeing his outstanding performance today, was I had the feeling he can do better, and that is the best.”

Brighton boss Chris Hughton, whose 14th-placed side secured safety last week by beating Manchester United, said: “It was a tough evening, but probably nothing short of what we expected.

“I was really delighted to get back in the game at 1-1 and then they showed their quality to go 2-1 up. At 2-1 we were still in it and we had good opportunities at times to break, but they close down the ball so quickly sometimes when you are in possession and it’s very difficult.

“I think probably the third goal, which was a poor one to concede, is the one that hurts us the most.”

Press Association

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