Pep Guardiola has explained why Raheem Sterling was on penalty kick duty instead of Kevin De Bruyne during Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Brighton.
Regular penalty taker De Bruyne won a spot kick for City in second half stoppage time after being fouled by Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, but it was substitute Sterling who stepped up to take it. However, the England international blazed over from 12 yards.
“Kevin is the taker but he made an incredible effort – not just the action to press the keeper and create the penalty but for the rest of the actions before,” Guardiola said (via the Manchester Evening News).
“He was struggling in the last 15 minutes because he was exhausted. I like the guys who take the responsibility for the penalty. It was Raz and next time it will be better.”
The penalty miss did not prove costly, with City securing a 1-0 victory thanks to a fabulously taken first half Phil Foden goal.
The City academy product cut inside Adam Webster with his first touch before sending a low effort into the bottom corner. The goal was Foden’s eighth of the season in all competitions, meaning he currently tops City’s scoring charts.
“He’s 20 years old, just look at the stats,” Guardiola told BBC Sport. “The amount of games he has played, the goals and the assists he has created and compare with the biggest stars in English football – the amount of games at his age. We are delighted.
“He’s a guy who can play on both sides as a winger, as a false nine, he can play in the middle. He’s so, so clever in front of goal.
“That’s why he deserves to play. Unfortunately as managers we judge the performance today, not what happened in the past. And today he played good, so maybe one day he is going to rest but right now he deserves to play.”