Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has defended Sergio Aguero after he attempted, and missed, a Panenka penalty in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium.
The Argentine forward took the kick while the Cityzens were leading 1-0, but fluffed his lines in comical fashion. His chipped penalty was read by Blues shot-stopper Edouard Mendy, who got to his feet and caught the ball with ease.
Chelsea came out firing in the second half, and they clinched all three points deep into injury time thanks to Marcos Alonso – meaning City will have to wait before being confirmed as Premier League champions.
But Guardiola refused to blame Aguero for his miss, and stated that we will never know how the second half would have played out had he tucked away the spot-kick.
“We don’t know what would have happened in the second half,” Guardiola said, quoted by the club’s official website.
“Many things happen. We cannot deny 2-0 at half-time is very different. We suffered a little bit in the second half but when Ilkay Gundogan and Phil [Foden] came on we were better – but they scored a goal.
“If he scores you would say he is a genius. I say to the players to take one decision. Panenka, right, left. Pick one. He is a sensible guy, we are not going to talk about what Sergio has done for all the period he has been here.
“He took the decision, no one expect it, but if he was convinced, do it. If he thinks that’s best, the taker has responsibility.”
Aguero took to Twitter to apologise for his flamboyant penalty, claiming it was a ‘bad decision’ while taking ‘full responsibility’ for City’s eventual defeat. Raheem Sterling had given the hosts the lead, but goals from Hakim Ziyech and Alonso completed a shock comeback for the visitors.
Guardiola has now called for focus among his team ahead of their clash with Newcastle United, as they aim to finally wrap up the league title.
“In general, the performance was good,” Guardiola said.“We are sad because we lose – we wanted to close the Premier League today – but we have to be focused. Football is unpredictable and we have to focus on the game at Newcastle.
“I will not start thinking about the action and another one and another. It will never end. Everyone made a good contribution and we were incredibly focused. Now we have six days, more than ever in this season. We will rest and then prepare for our final at Newcastle.”