Sterling red takes gloss off Man City win

Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling (C) vies with Bournemouth’s South African-born English midfielder Andrew Surman (L) and Bournemouth’s English defender Adam Smith (R) during the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Manchester City at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on August 26, 2017. Glyn KIRK / AFP

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola admitted his satisfaction at his team’s dramatic 2-1 win at Bournemouth was tainted by the dismissal of Raheem Sterling.

Referee Mike Dean showed Sterling a second yellow card after the England forward celebrated his deflected 97th-minute winner on Saturday by throwing himself into the away end.

Having previously seen full-back Kyle Walker sent off in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Everton, Guardiola said his side had had once again been the victims of an injustice.

“It is a good question,” said the City manager when asked why Sterling had been booked for a second time.

“I would like someone to comment. If you cannot celebrate with the fans, the best solution is not to invite the fans. You can imagine how happy he is, how happy the fans are.

“We won. If we had not won or lost, I would not have made the argument, but I would like someone to tell me that.

“Why Kyle Walker was sent off and is not here and why Raheem Sterling now can’t play against his former team (Liverpool, after the international break).”

He added: “Teams who always have 65, 70 percent of possession always have the player sent off. Perhaps someone can explain that to me one day.”

Charlie Daniels had given Bournemouth a 13th minute-lead with a thunderbolt from wide on the left that crashed into Ederson’s net via the crossbar.

But Gabriel Jesus levelled eight minutes later and although City looked set to pay the price for failing to make more of a number of chances, Sterling saved the day at the death.

Guardiola’s line-up included Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy, who were making their first starts for the club since their close-season moves from Monaco.

– ‘Absolute madness’ –

“The first thing I did was go to Mendy and Silva and say, ‘Welcome to the Premier League!'” said City captain Vincent Kompany.

“It is absolute madness. Especially because I thought we played well. Just like we had against Everton. The few chances we have, we maybe don’t score them.

“Today we deserved to win, but they made it incredibly hard for us.”

Guardiola praised the contribution of left-back Mendy in particular.

“We are happy and grateful for what he has done,” he said. “He has just had one week training with us. Of course he has to improve, but we were happy.”

But the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach admitted his side had not been at their best.

“If you ask me about my impression of the game, I’m going to tell you they were better than us,” said Guardiola.

“We played with one striker instead of two to keep the ball, to have more place to keep the ball and have more passes, but unfortunately they missed simple balls and when this happens, they can create counter-attacks.”

Bournemouth remain without a point after three games, but following defeats against West Bromwich Albion and Watford, manager Eddie Howe said he had been encouraged by his side’s display against City.

“The players came off the pitch giving everything,” Howe said. “The players are disappointed and that was much more like Bournemouth.

“We have been given some harsh lessons by (City) previously. They were good experiences for us to go through.

“The first season in the Premier League was an eye-opener and that was the closest we have been to them.”



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