Defeat against the leaders - match report and debrief
Manchester City 3-0 Spurs
Sat 13 February 2021, 19:28|Tottenham Hotspur
We suffered our fourth defeat in our last five Premier League games as Manchester City took all three points at the Etihad on Saturday.
Despite going close from a Harry Kane free-kick that hit the post when the game was goalless, City took control and led at half-time through a Rodrigo penalty before Ilkay Gundogan netted twice after the break on a difficult evening in the north west. It was City’s 16th successive win in all competitions and they now haven’t conceded a goal in seven straight home games.
We were unlucky not to take the lead when Kane stepped up to take a 14th-minute free-kick from 20 yards out, curling right-footed over the wall but his effort crashed against the post and City eventually cleared.
Instead it was the hosts who broke the deadlock from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute, after Gundogan had been clipped by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg close to the byline. Referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot, VAR confirmed his decision and Rodrigo took the penalty, firing to Hugo Lloris’ right and although the goalkeeper got a good hand to it, the ball crept into the bottom corner.
Although they dominated possession, that was City’s only shot on target in the first half, but they added to the scoreline five minutes into the second half when Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling combined, with the latter finding Gundogan inside the area and his left foot shot from 10 yards went past Lloris, who again got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.
It wasn’t until just before the hour mark that we had our first shot on target, Tanguy Ndombele’s deflected effort looping up into Ederson’s hands, with the goalkeeper then playing a key role in City’s third in the 66th minute. Spotting the run from deep of Gundogan, Ederson hit a 60-yard ball through the middle into his path, the midfielder holding off the challenge of Davinson Sanchez before sliding beyond Lloris.
Substitute Gareth Bale almost netted a late goal after showing superb footwork to weave his way past Bernardo Silva, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones on the edge of the area, but Ederson made a fine save to deny the Welsh forward and that was our last chance of the contest.
A tough outing against in-form City
It was always going to be a difficult game against a side which has hit top form in recent weeks – indeed their last defeat was our 2-0 win over them at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 21 November.
But had Kane’s free-kick crept inside the post rather than against it, the outcome might have been different. City were having more of the ball but when we did counter, we did so with plenty of players getting forward to support and on a number of occasions, it was just one final pass which denied us a good sight of goal.
The concession of the penalty was a real blow as it put us on the back foot and we never really recovered. Goalscoring chances were at a premium for us and it wasn’t until we were 3-0 down that we carved out a couple of really good opportunities, Bale showing real skill to create his chance which deserved to hit the back of the net.
Jose Mourinho had made three changes to the team that started in the FA Cup at Everton on Wednesday night. Kane, who came off the bench at Goodison, was back in the starting XI, in place of Steven Bergwijn while Japhet Tanganga came in for Matt Doherty for his first appearance in the Premier League this season. Eric Dier was also back in for Toby Alderweireld. Dele, who returned to action after injury at Everton and Gareth Bale, who missed out at Goodison, both came off the bench during the second period.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'Fatigue plus the emotional side'
Jose told Spurs TV at the Etihad: "Going in a football direction, I believe that in the first half, we were good, we started the game very positively, we didn’t fear them, didn’t have problems, didn’t have any defensive problems, even playing in an offensive way like we tried to do. Once more, unlucky, the Harry Kane ball, I don’t know how it’s not a goal, and unlucky with another penalty of modern days. But I liked the team in the first half, very positive.
"In the second half, when you concede a goal after five minutes, it’s very hard, because then it’s the fatigue plus the emotional side. The guys fought until the end, and I feel the result is too heavy, too heavy. It gives me another feeling... of if we get into that (Carabao Cup) final in the same physical condition as them, let’s go."
Manchester City 3-0 Spurs
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko, Bernardo, Rodrigo, Gundogan (Torres 69), Sterling (c), Jesus (Mahrez 79), Foden. Substitutes (not used): Steffen, Walker, Dias, Aguero, Mendy, Garcia, Doyle.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Tanganga, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Hojbjerg, Ndombele (Dele 64), Lamela (Bale 72), Lucas (Sissoko 46), Son, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Hart, Doherty, Alderweireld, Winks, Bergwijn, Vinicius.
Goals: Manchester City – Rodrigo 23 (pen), Gundogan 50, 66.
Yellow cards: Manchester City – Bernardo; Spurs – Dier, Lamela, Davies.
Referee: Paul Tierney.
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
Weather: Light cloud, moderate breeze, minus-one degree.