Pep Guardiola on VAR Controversy, Joao Cancelo Development

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Manchester City continued their title charge as they beat West Bromwich Albion 5-0 on Tuesday night and moved to the top of the table. One of the many reasons behind the win was the performance of Joao Cancelo and manager Pep Guardiola was all full of praise for the defender.

City never looked like they were going to lose this game after Ilkay Gundogan had given them the lead in the sixth minute. They went on to score four more goals, including a stunner from the Spanish full back.

Cancelo, who started as the right back position, got City’s second goal as he curled in a shot after Bernardo Silva was flagged offside. But thanks to the intervention of VAR, that was checked, and the goal was given.

This aspect of the goal impressed Guardiola, who is content with the way Joao is developing. He also admitted that he understands the concerns of the West Brom players about how the goal was taken, as he told the City website:

He’s playing in one position that he feels comfortable. He has an incredibly quality with the ball, his physicality and commitment defensively. He has set up well at our club (our team).

“I understand the complaints from the West Brom players and the manager,” he said at his post-match press conference. I understand completely, but with this rule you have to follow the action until the end. Don’t stop because with VAR it can be disallowed.

“You have to continue. It is a good lesson for us. In the next few days we will speak about it. Today it happened to West Brom, but it could happen to us.”

The fact that it was a comfortable win for the Manchester side was in large part due to how secure the defence looked. Even when it looked like West Brom might get back into the game, the back line took care of any potential danger.

Cancelo was a major part of that and he also contributed offensively, apart from his goal. He was constantly an outlet that the City players could pick out on the wings. His energy going up and down throughout the game proved to a nuisance for the Baggies.

Manchester City will next be up against Sheffield United and they will be curious to see how the rest of their title challengers do this week in their respective contests. But with City looking dominant on both ends of the pitch, it is going to take something special to stop them. Guardiola has to be happy with how his team is playing right now and the momentum they are building towards their title challenge.

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  1. Cancelo is Portuguese not Spanish !

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