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Goal-shy Man City give Guardiola deja vu

MANCHESTER

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola expressed fears that his team’s goal-scoring problems remain an issue after they drew 1-1 with Everton in their opening Premier League home game.

Wayne Rooney put Everton ahead in the 35th minute on Monday and City had Kyle Walker controversially sent off before half-time, but the hosts hit back to level through substitute Raheem Sterling’s volley eight minutes from time.

City regularly struggled to kill teams off last season, drawing seven home games in the league, and when asked if his side’s latest display had brought to mind their travails from 2016-17, Guardiola replied: “Yep.

“We created three, four chances before the goal. They play man-to-man, six, eight players there, closing (down).

“(Ashley) Williams, (Phil) Jagielka, (Michael) Keane, (Leighton) Baines, all the guys, they are very good in one-against-one.

“We tried to find the way to attack them and we did it. (When the opposition) arrive once (in the box), score a goal, that can happen.

“Our amount of opportunities on target or close to the target was good. We were there all the time. We never gave up, with the spirit of the Mancunians.”

He added: “What we can do is try and create the chances. Maybe one day we’ll change, we’ll find it.

“Last season we were the first or second team for creating clear chances. I think the first one. We just made (scored) 16 percent.

“In that level, it’s results. In our box, it was perfect. They arrived once. But OK, we will improve.”

For the second time this season, Guardiola started with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus up front, but he withdrew Jesus at half-time as part of the reshuffle that followed Walker’s home-debut dismissal.

Booked for sliding in on Leighton Baines, Walker was shown a second yellow card by referee Robert Madley two minutes later following a fairly innocuous collision with Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

ROONEY ‘A TEACHER’

Guardiola refused to talk about Madley in his post-match press conference.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman also had reason to rue one of the referee’s decisions after he, too, lost a player to a harsh second booking, with Morgan Schneiderlin sent off late on after sliding in to tackle Aguero.

While Koeman acknowledged that Madley had a “difficult job”, he suggested Schneiderlin’s dismissal had been on the cards from the moment Walker trudged off.

“I was in a good position and in my opinion he (Schneiderlin) played the ball,” said Koeman, who gave a debut to record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson.

“But away against City, he’s sending off one player of City and a difficult situation, you know what the referee will do then. A yellow and his second and it’s red. You can expect it.”

Koeman said he had been “disappointed” to see Sterling equalise, but said it was a “good point” to take back to Merseyside.

Rooney’s goal, a first-time finish from Calvert-Lewin’s square pass, was his 200th in the Premier League.

The former Manchester United striker celebrated by cupping his ears in front of City’s fans, many of whom spent the entirety of the match goading him.

“He is still that player that every manager needs in his team and maybe more for Everton. He is back home,” said Koeman, who brought Rooney back to Goodison Park from United in July.

“We have young players. We had three players of 20 years on the pitch against City and they did a great job. He is that experienced player, that teacher of young players. We’d like to win titles and he knows how you win titles.

“It’s a big step up for the young players. Against Stoke I was really pleased about his performance.

“Also tonight, with that cleverness to know exactly in every moment what is the best decision. I’m very happy about him.”

Wayne Rooney put Everton ahead with his 200th Premier League goal.

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