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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Simon Bajkowski

Pep Guardiola gives Kalvin Phillips verdict amid Man City 'fight' claims

Pep Guardiola defended Kalvin Phillips after the Manchester City midfielder was singled out for criticism in the 2-0 defeat to Southampton.

Phillips made his first competitive start for the Blues six months after joining from Leeds, but endured a night to forget as struggled in midfield and was one of those culpable for both goals conceded. The England international was picked apart by pundits for his poor performance, but Guardiola said that everyone was responsible for the defeat rather than one individual.

"He needs time, a lot of time injured," said Guardiola. "It's not about Kalvin or this player or the other one, when you have nights like today it's the responsibility for everyone. First the manager of course, but everyone."

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The manager had said after the 4-0 win over Chelsea at the weekend that his players needed to show the same hunger going forwards, only to make seven changes and watch an insipid performance that saw City register no shots on target in a match for the first time since 2018. Despite being clear that Southampton were the better team, Guardiola refuted the suggestion that this was down to his team lacking hunger or fight, and instead said it was that the team were not ready for something new.

"It's not one player. The players who came in from the bench were the same," he said. "We tried to introduce something new. Everyone. When you have this type of situations you have big big problems. People say we didn't fight, it's not about that. It's because we were not prepared to get in this competition to play the semi-finals, we were not ready."


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