Manchester City were knocked out of the EFL Cup after succumbing to a narrow 1-0 defeat to arch rivals Manchester United
Yesterday’s defeat made it six games without a win for the men in Sky Blue, their longest winless streak since 2008. It also happens to be Pep Guardiola’s worst run of form since he first became a coach.
The manager, however, said he was pleased with the performance of the team even if disappointed by the final result, singling out praises for 19 year old midfielder Aleix Garcia and 19 year old right-back Pablo Maffeo.
Pep Guardiola stating his post-match thoughts, said “We made a good performance, so there’s no regrets. We were still fighting until the last minute. Aleix Garcia was outstanding. Same with Pablo Maffeo, he was amazing – fighting with Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba, he won almost all of his duels.”
The praise comes as no surprise given the matured performances by the two Manchester City youngsters at the derby.
Aleix Garcia started in the midfield role at Old Trafford, constantly switching positions with Fernando as the deepest midfielder. The Spanish midfielder showcased his qualities on the ball as well off it, impressing one and all with his diverse passing range, composure in tight areas and ability to pick out his team-mates with a pass with ease.
And that’s not all as the player also showed willingness to get stuck in and do the dirty work. Aleix ended the game winning 2 tackles and 2 interceptions alongside making the most passes (85 out of 90) among any player yesterday (via Whoscored).
Pablo Maffeo was stationed at the right-back spot, given the responsibility of handling the attacking duo of Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw, and he did that admirably well.
Rashford’s pace makes him a very dangerous player in 1 on 1 situations but the Spanish full-back managed to subdue him more often than not. Rashford did get goalside of Maffeo once with a clever run but the right-back redeemed himself with an excellent block.
Maffeo continued to make crucial challenges and blocks to save his team throughout the game, and was left completely breathless by the time the final whistle was blown, highlighting the effort he had put in the match.
On last night’s evidence, both Garcia and Maffeo have proved they can be trusted for more game time. Considering Manchester City don’t have a genuine back-up for Fernandinho while their options at the right-back spot are 31 year old Pablo Zabaleta and 33 year old Bacary Sagna, with contracts of both set to end in 2017, the young duo won’t be far off from featuring more frequently for the first team.
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