Guardiola backs 'exceptional' Ederson after derby horror show

By Dom Farrell 9 March 2020 78
Guardiola backs 'exceptional' Ederson after derby horror show

Pep Guardiola backed Ederson as an exceptional goalkeeper after the Brazil international's errors led to Manchester City's 2-0 derby defeat at Manchester United.

Following a period of early control from City, Anthony Martial's volley squirmed through Ederson's grasp to give United an advantage they did not relinquish in the face of second-half pressure.

Ederson also lackadaisically missed his touch to almost allow Martial a second, and his ill-advised throw as the visitors chased an equaliser allowed Scott McTominay to seal the points in stoppage time.

"He saved one or two, so… he is an exceptional goalkeeper," Guardiola told Sky Sports after suffering a third defeat to his local rivals this term.

"I'm not here to come to judge my players if they make mistakes. It's part of the game.

"He will recover and he is an exceptional goalkeeper."

City remain 25 points shy of champions-elect Liverpool and still comfortably ensconced in the top four - a fact in itself that remains somewhat academic as their two-season ban from UEFA competition awaits an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

This season's Champions League remains a live ambition, with a 2-1 advantage held over Real Madrid before a return last-16 encounter at the Etihad Stadium later this month, while City travel to Newcastle United in the FA Cup quarter-finals after already winning a third EFL Cup in succession.

Despite this cup-heavy feel to the season run-in, Guardiola baulked at the suggestion his team lacked motivation or underperformed in their Premier League assignment at Old Trafford.

"We played so good. Even when we win 5-0, we can play better," he added.

"The schedule we know. Liverpool are far away and we have to play the game for ourselves. Today we did it."

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