Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Pep Guardiola defends Zack Steffen after error for Man City; downplays ‘tiredness’ rumours

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has come to the defence of Zack Steffen and downplayed rumours his team looks tired after their 3-2 defeat at the hands of Liverpool.

The Citizens went behind early on when Ibrahima Konate headed a corner past Steffen. And the American goalkeeper then gifted Liverpool a second when he took too long to clear, allowing Sadio Mane to slide in and finish.

Jurgen Klopp’s side had a three-goal lead before half time when Mane fired a first-time volley into the bottom corner.

Manchester City battled hard after the interval and scored goals through Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva. But ultimately it wasn’t enough for them to reach the FA Cup final – our Player Ratings are available here.

During a post-match interview with BBC Sport, Guardiola said: “We gave everything after a tough first half. For the first goal, the set pieces they are very, very strong.

“The second was an accident. Difficult to come back but they did it perfectly in the second half.”

Pep Guardiola backs Steffen to ‘learn’ from error

On Steffen’s error, the Spaniard added: “It was an accident. One of the strong points is try to play [out] and as a keeper he has this quality.

“It was an accident and he will learn for the future. When the ball is there it can always happen. I have spoken with the team, not him personally, but he is strong.”

Guardiola also responded to suggestions his players appeared tired at Wembley. “Our momentum was there in the second half,” the coach said. “We had the chances to equalise. It was a difficult fixture because we came from somewhere like only we know where we came from, with games we had and the last five or six days days away and people with the problems. The guys put in a lot of pride in the second half.

Pep Guardiola, Man City boss

“It was not a question of tired. They were more tired in the first, football is not about the tiredness it is about what you do and how it works and how you play.

“We finally have one or two days off. We know we have seven games and the Champions League, we are going to try to push and see what happens.”

Guardiola also spoke about the City fans who chanted during the minute’s silence for the 97 victims of the Hillsborough disaster. “I think Manchester City made a statement,” he said.

“This is not Manchester City. We are close to Liverpool club for the tragedy that happened years ago. We are alongside them. After these guys singing (it) doesn’t represent what we are.”

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