Saturday 20 January 2018

Patient City tear Burnley to pieces after early scare

Manchester City 4 Burnley 1

Sergio Aguero scored twice Photo: Reuters
Sergio Aguero scored twice Photo: Reuters

Etihad Stadium

The Premier League leaders trailed in this FA Cup tie for half an hour, but such is the power of Pep Guardiola's team that it always seemed only a matter of time before they would take this game to a level at which Burnley simply could not compete.

Sean Dyche came with a plan to unsettle Manchester City that almost lasted the hour until two goals in two minutes from Sergio Aguero decided the outcome. The Argentinian, Guardiola said later, was crucial to City's success and would stay at the club.

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City crosses the ball under pressure from Charlie Taylor of Burnley Photo: Getty
Sergio Aguero of Manchester City crosses the ball under pressure from Charlie Taylor of Burnley Photo: Getty

"For me is an honour to coach a player like Aguero. I understand that a player like him can feel sad in the moments when he doesn't play," Guardiola said. "If we want to win something this year, and the following years, Aguero's presence is fundamental."

The first goal was a fine Ashley Barnes finish after 25 minutes, one of Burnley's two attempts on target. But City's confidence in the Guardiola approach was total and their 77 per cent possession yielded the goals to win a fourth-round place.

Guardiola said that with the Champions League resuming in one month's time, this taste of knockout football was a reminder to his players of what will be at stake.

"The situation is how you react. The best example is John Stones, who made a mistake for the first goal - but that's not a problem, the problem is how he reacts. Does he go down? Does he not play any more? Not defend well? He did the opposite."

Ilkay Gundogan (C) of Manchester City congratulates Sergio Aguero after he scored his team's first goal Photo: Getty
Ilkay Gundogan (C) of Manchester City congratulates Sergio Aguero after he scored his team's first goal Photo: Getty

Dyche had a grievance over the first City goal after a free-kick by Ilkay Gundogan caught his side out. He complained that referee Graham Scott did not blow his whistle to signal when the free-kick was to be taken when Ashley Westwood was asking him to do so.

"Bit of a contentious one when Ashley is a few yards away motioning and he's the man supposed to be in the slot they passed it through, so I am bound to be aggrieved," Dyche said.

There had been some arguing between the benches, for which Guardiola apologised. "I am sorry, I didn't want to get out of control. I said, 'Leave the referees please'. I have a lot of respect for what he [Dyche] does. The way he plays is completely different to how we want to play. But they do it perfectly and that is why football is top."

Dyche said his squad is stretched with injuries but replacements like Westwood and Kevin Long did well. Steven Defour was rested.

Burnley scored when Nick Pope kicked long and Sam Vokes won a header against Fernandinho. Stones missed the ball and Barnes was composed enough to beat Claudio Bravo at his near post.

They held out for 56 minutes until Aguero ran on to Gundogan's ball behind the defence and scored. The benches were still arguing when Matt Lowton lost possession outside his own area and Aguero could pick out Gundogan and run on to the back-heeled return to score the second.

It was the same space down Burnley's right that City exploited for their final two goals.

Leroy Sane scored the third after an exchange with David Silva, and then ran on to a long ball from substitute Kevin De Bruyne that he cut back for Bernardo Silva to score.

Sunday Indo Sport

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport