How Kevin de Bruyne chat saved Neil Etheridge from 'fine' in Man City's win over Cardiff
Neil Etheridge, the Cardiff City goalkeeper, joked that Kevin De Bruyne saved him from receiving a fine by admitting that he did not mean to score Manchester City’s first goal on Wednesday night.
City returned to the top of the Premier League table with a routine 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Cardiff at the Etihad, with De Bruyne opening the scoring from an acute angle after just six minutes.
The Belgian's strike beat Etheridge at his near post and, despite the goalkeeper's second-half heroics to prevent a heavy defeat, his manager Neil Warnock came onto the pitch at full time to ask about City’s opener.
"I said to him: 'It's a pity about the goal, isn't it?’ He said: 'Gaffer, he didn't mean it'," Warnock revealed in his post-match press conference.
"Kevin was just going off the pitch, so I shouted to Kevin and said: 'Tell me the truth, he says you didn't mean it?' He said he didn't. He meant to cross it but the power was too much."
Television cameras caught the exchange between Warnock, Etheridge and De Bruyne after the final whistle and also captured the goalkeeper joking that De Bruyne's honesty had saved him from a fine.
Warnock was pleased with the efforts his players, despite being dominated for all but a few brief moments during the game and despite the fact that the result leaves Cardiff five points adrift of safety.
"I was just really proud," he said. "When you concede as early as that, you fear the worst because they started like the Real Madrid of 10 years ago, didn't they? They are so quick, everyone's comfortable on the ball.
"The disappointment of the Chelsea game and the circumstances could have knocked a lot of teams. But they came to see Monday after I said about [playing] the Under-23s and they all wanted to play in this game.
"I don't think anybody in the bottom half of the table has much chance coming to the Etihad, to be honest," he added. "They've improved so much now, I've not seen anything like this, I must say."
Independent News Service