Pep Guardiola’s reaction to Manchester City’s crucial 2-3 comeback victory against Newcastle United saw the Catalan coach take a deeper look at Norway international Oscar Bobb.
The reigning Premier League champions found themselves trailing 2-1 at the half-time interval at St James’ Park, despite originally taking the lead in the game through a sensational effort from Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva.
Quickfire goals from Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon on the counter-attack for Eddie Howe’s side gave Manchester City plenty to think about in the dressing room at the break, despite manager Pep Guardiola insisting on his players sticking to the original game plan.
Goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Oscar Bobb would turn the game around, with Pep Guardiola’s substitutions ensuring that the pressure is maintained on current league leaders Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp’s side brace for temporary life without star forward Mo Salah.
Speaking to the media in part two of his post-match press conference, the Manchester City manager was asked for deeper thoughts on the rise of Oscar Bobb, and provide explanation as to why the 20-year-old has managed to excel at first-team level so fast.
Here is every word from Pep Guardiola after City maintained their post-FIFA Club World Cup winning run with a vital three points on Saturday evening against Newcastle United.
On Oscar Bobb
“Oscar… So, Txiki (Begiristain) at the end of the season said to me that Oscar Bobb in the second team under-23s was the best player by far. And I said, ‘OK, come to Japan, start to train with us’, and immediately Oscar got something that is the most important thing; the reliance of his mates.
“It’s more important than the manager! When the mates can say, ‘OK, this player can play with us’, that is the best triumph, the best success, and it was immediately. He can play in five positions; striker, right-wing, left-wing, the pockets. He’s so dynamic, the work ethic is unbelievable.
“Here (against Newcastle), in the Carabao Cup when we came, the first-half was outstanding the way he played. He doesn’t feel much the pressure; I don’t know what happens with the players from the Academy. Look at Cole (Palmer), he’s doing really well at Chelsea, I’m so happy for him. And look at all the players; Rico (Lewis) when he came, and Phil (Foden), and he (Oscar Bobb) is important for us, the Club, to bring players from the Academy and help us; when Jack (Grealish) had problems this season, John Stones, and now Manu (Akanji), Kevin (De Bruyne) out, Erling (Haaland) out.
“An important part of the season is November, December, a lot of games, important players were not there! And Oscar helped us, and that is great, it’s really, really great. We have another player for many years for us, if he decides to stay because maybe he decides… Now he’s happy for that minutes, Cole Palmer was happy with that minutes, but after one to three years, it’s ‘I want more!’ And it’s natural, it’s completely understandable, and maybe I don’t give them that minutes, and they decide to go there! If he decides to stay, we have a player for many, many years!”
On whether it might have been easier to call upon a more experienced player at that stage of the game, like Jack Grealish or Matheus Nunes – showing trust in Oscar Bobb
“Well I decided not for Jack (Grealish) because he was sick for five or six days. Yesterday he came and made an incredible effort to come but could not finish the training session and he decided to come.
“And we needed a player in the small spaces; Matheus (Nunes) is incredible in the bigger spaces, and Oscar (Bobb), and Kevin (De Bruyne), and Phil (Foden), and Jeremy (Doku) are good in the small spaces, and the game was about small spaces. But look the game from Matheus against Huddersfield was really, really, really good.”
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