Borussia Monchengladbach 0-2 Manchester City

Manchester City took a huge step towards the Champions League quarter finals with victory over Germans Gladbach on Wednesday night, and it was a result driven by their Portuguese connection.

Bernardo Silva scored the opener, assisted by a wonderful cross by João Cancelo, before the same duo combined in the second half, with Bernardo this time nodding the ball across goal for Gabriel Jesus to give Pep Guardiola’s team a significant first-leg advantage.

With Rúben Dias continuing at centre-half, Guardiola selected Cancelo at left-back, where he produced a Man of the Match performance, while Bernardo was deployed in behind Gabriel Jesus in a playmaker role. All three Portuguese played the full ninety minutes, as City racked up their 19th consecutive victory in all competitions.

“It was a good game for us, I think it’s a good win and a very important win as we know how tough this competition is as one mistake can mean that you are out,” Bernardo said after the match.

“Usually I’m not! [deadly with headers]. I try to practice this a lot and I have a competition with Rúben about who can score more headed goals. I think tonight I was lucky that João gave me a great ball. I’m happy to score the goal and help the team.

“João? He’s an amazing player. I played with him for seven years for Benfica and we’re from the same generation. The connection is good.

“He knows my timing and I know how good he is with the ball at his feet. It was a very good goal. His passing qualities and overall as a player he’s having a great season and I’m so happy for him.”

City will be aiming for a remarkable 20th straight win on Saturday when they host West Ham United in the Premier League, with Guardiola appearing to be wary of complacency and describing his team as “not good enough” in taking their chances after the match with Gladbach in Budapest.

Pep speaks on Luso pair

The Spaniard did, however, offer kind words for his Portuguese match-winning duo, beginning with the increasingly exceptional Cancelo. “Cancelo is playing very well,” Guardiola said. “He is a player with enormous quality and has amazing physical capacity. He would be ready to play tomorrow, if necessary. For his two assists, you have to have quality to be able to place the ball the way he did. It was perfect.

“[Bernardo] Has been at the level of the first two seasons [at City]. Maybe last season he dropped a little, but whenever he plays he is exceptional, with a lot of quality. He’s very good in the aerial game! I've seen him in training, when you go up to head you have to use your body and he’s strong in that aspect, he’s a good header, to tell you the truth. The goal was fantastic, the way he finished. He has that special quality.”

By Sean Gillen

@SeanGillen9

 

@SeanGillen9

Comments (6)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Cancelo did that from left back last night....i think given that ricardo and cancelo can both play left back at the highest level plus guerreiro....you dont need the fourth full back and can instead select another attacker or attacking...

Cancelo did that from left back last night....i think given that ricardo and cancelo can both play left back at the highest level plus guerreiro....you dont need the fourth full back and can instead select another attacker or attacking mid....could give the slot to one of the new generation....neto or leao or trincao.

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I enjoy watching Cancelo in this system but reality is he is not playing left or right back. If you watch the game he plays midfield. This is because Pep has created a fantastic system to accentuate his talents while minimizing his weaknesses....

I enjoy watching Cancelo in this system but reality is he is not playing left or right back. If you watch the game he plays midfield. This is because Pep has created a fantastic system to accentuate his talents while minimizing his weaknesses. Cancelo cannot defend to save his life. He may be one of the worst defensive wingbacks in all of football. Go watch any game where he is asked to play the proper position against any above average winger and see what happens. Santos is not the creative offensive coach Pep is so I have my doubts whether he can match peps strategy. Santos will slot him in right back and ask him to play a traditional style which I’m afraid he does not do well. Against Hungary he can be an asset but against France and Germany you are playing with fire in a Euro Cup asking cancelo to cover the likes of sane or Mbappe. It’s a huge risk and I would much rather have a more reliable defender considering we have plenty of attacking talent in the midfield and forward and don’t think the sacrifice for more offense on the back end is with it.

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Excellent points Justin. I have been getting carried away by the option of him at left-back but the systematic issues you highlight are very true

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Why not just adapt the Man City system with Portugal squad. You can easily slot in replacements for the Man City players.

Bruno F for Gundogan, Felix for Sterling, Andre Silva for Jesus, etc...

Is it too risky at Euro's?

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I am not sure abou the worst defensively...his attacking side leaves him exposed sometimes but he made several defensive blocks for man city and alongside a more deep lying CB likenwith the seleccao he has cover besides semedo is prone to the...

I am not sure abou the worst defensively...his attacking side leaves him exposed sometimes but he made several defensive blocks for man city and alongside a more deep lying CB likenwith the seleccao he has cover besides semedo is prone to the same mistakes without the offensive output...i suppose ricardo is most well rounded...could play him on roght of midfield 3 behind bernardo and in front of ricardo....what a right side! My point being there is no real need to bring Mario Rui when both ricardo and cancelp can cover guerreiro at LB and bring in a flying winger ala neto, leao or trincao because ronaldo, and jota are not out and out wingers anymore and silva is also not an out and out winger besides he can be more effective dictating from deeper since he rarely loses the ball. Fernandes and b. Silva dictating play with 3 attackers jota ronaldo and a.silva or another maybe even cancelo as a winger with danilo sitting to protect. Scary! Lots of options of bench...

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Joe, you are right. There is a difference between being a bad defender and being out of position. He is often out of position, as are most modern full backs, because they are way more involved in the attack. Yesterday, towards the end of the game...

Joe, you are right. There is a difference between being a bad defender and being out of position. He is often out of position, as are most modern full backs, because they are way more involved in the attack. Yesterday, towards the end of the game against Gladbach, he sped diagonally across the field from the left to the right to stop Hoffman. So even though his creative talents are being used more, he still defends.

Now I am not saying any of any of our full backs are the best one on one defenders, Ala a Wan-Bisska, but the are capable.

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“It was a spur of the moment thing. Ronaldo laughed, it was a joke. It showed the warmth and spirit of friendship we have in the squad.”

João Palhinha
(Portugal midfielder on his "Ronaldo" celebration after scoring for Portugal against Luxembourg) 

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