Monday 10 December 2018

Pep Guardiola struggles to control emotions as City celebrate late winner

Pep Guardiola, left, had words with Nathan Redmond as the players leave the field
Pep Guardiola, left, had words with Nathan Redmond as the players leave the field

Pep Guardiola could not control his emotions after Raheem Sterling's stunning late winner continued Manchester City's record run at plucky Southampton's expense.

Saints looked set to become the first side in 100 days to deny swashbuckling City maximum points in the Premier League after Oriol Romeu cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne's deflected free-kick.

But deep into stoppage time Sterling found space to bend home a stunning effort to secure a 2-1 victory - a club record 19th straight win in all competitions - and send the Etihad Stadium wild as Guardiola jumped for joy.

"Good night, yes," a smiling Guardiola said, sporting a wet jumper from the dressing room celebrations.

"I think all the supporters create some special moments.

"Tonight in the last breath, in the last second, we enjoyed the situation, so you have to celebrate it.

"It was a good moment in the last minute.

"What happened in the locker room with all the staff, all the people, how happy they were that's why our job makes sense. To enjoy this kind of situations."

The unbridled celebrations after Sterling's stoppage-time winner included Benjamin Mendy hobbling down the touchline with his City team-mates - just two months after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Guardiola joked the "crazy" full-back's decision was a "disaster", but he too struggled to control himself.

"I said I apologise, I couldn't control it," the City boss said after referee Paul Tierney had a word with him having encroached on the pitch.

"I was so happy, like all the fans, all the players.

"I ran behind Raz (Sterling) but I am not quick enough or fast enough, but we were so, so happy.

"I could accept absolutely everything."

Guardiola continued in animated fashion after the final whistle, when the City manager's post-match conversation with Saints' Nathan Redmond raised eyebrows.

"(I told him) how good a player he is," he said of what had looked like a rather aggressive exchange.

"Last season he destroyed us here. I didn't know him last season, I realised how good he is.

"Today he could not attack because they defend all the time, but that is what it is.

"I spoke with Oriol Romeu as well, with (Virgil) van Dijk and with my players as well."

Southampton counterpart Mauricio Pellegrino was unaware of the incident with Redmond and unwilling to comment on Guardiola's celebrations.

However, the former Argentina international did appear frustrated about the amount of stoppage time as five minutes were awarded and Sterling struck home in the 96th minute.

"I can't say anything about that," Pellegrino said. "I didn't see too many actions to delay the game.

"Obviously just the change, but OK it is part of the decision of the referee.

"I can't do anything about that, I have to respect (it).

"Obviously it is painful for us to concede one goal at the end, but I think we have to learn how to approach this type of moment for the next time."

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