Guardiola: Monreal knows it was a penalty

By Iain Strachan 3 April 2017 180
Guardiola: Monreal knows it was a penalty

A rueful Pep Guardiola claims Nacho Monreal had a narrow escape after appearing to handle the ball inside the box late in Manchester City's 2-2 draw at Arsenal on Sunday.

Monreal's hand looked to have brushed the ball while he attempted to clear in the 92nd minute at Emirates Stadium, where referee Andre Marriner ignored the penalty appeals of the visiting players.

Guardiola was furious on the touchline and passionately stated his case to the officials, the result leaving his team 11 points behind Chelsea ahead of a match away to the Premier League leaders on Wednesday.

Asked by Sky Sports if, when he spoke to fellow Spaniard Monreal on the field after the final whistle, Guardiola had told the full-back of his good fortune, the City boss wryly replied: "Yeah, he knows. But, next question."

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach added: "We were in a difficult stadium.

"After [scoring] the first goal… we forgot to play. We didn't want the ball. Against Arsenal this makes the game complicated. With Yaya it was better," he added, referring to the tactical introduction of midfielder Yaya Toure in place of forward Raheem Sterling at half-time.

"We missed a lot of easy chances but we created more opportunities.. We need time to change the mentality for everybody."

Failing to beat Arsenal means City are unable to apply significant pressure to Chelsea when they visit Antonio Conte's frontrunners in mid-week, but Guardiola remains determined to orchestrate a strong finish to his debut campaign in England. 

"We wanted to make a perfect performance but we were not able," he said.

"The important thing is to play the game better. There's still a lot of games to play. It's so difficult. We were not able to win. But now it's game by game."

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Iain Strachan