While City equaled Aston Villa’s record of winning 10 consecutive opening fixtures to a top-flight season, there is little doubt Liverpool remain the Premier League’s preeminent force for now.But Guardiola was delighted to open with a victory given the shorter than usual pre-season.”We could not run much because we are tired in our legs but in general we did a good game,” he said.”The period that we are in, the situation that we had this last two weeks, I expected some moments where we suffer but in general we controlled it well.”It was a good performance. We know how difficult it is in this stadium.”Sometimes we need more time to get to our best condition but it was a good start to come here and win.”It feels like a crucial season for City and Guardiola as they look to regain the title they won in 2018 and 2019.Guardiola says he needs to “deserve” an extension to his City contract rather than just be handed one as he enters the final year of his current deal.After finishing 18 points behind Liverpool and suffering a shock Champions League quarter-final defeat against Lyon, City need to push the champions harder this term and the early signs were encouraging. City’s swaggering first half gave way to an anxious spell as Wolves dominated after the interval and they had to cling on after Raul Jimenez got one back before Gabriel Jesus sealed the points in stoppage time.Foden’s goal was a welcome morale boost in his first match since the midfielder was sent home in disgrace, along with Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood, after the pair invited local women into the England team’s hotel.The breach of coronavirus protocols after England’s Nations League match in Iceland was publicly condemned by City, but the 20-year-old retains Guardiola’s trust.”For the goal and in the second half Foden played incredibly well, he helped us keep the ball,” Guardiola said. Topics : Pep Guardiola labeled Phil Foden as “incredible” after Manchester City survived a scare to start their Premier League title challenge with a 3-1 win against Wolves on Monday.City’s delayed start to the campaign — due to their involvement in last season’s Champions League — had allowed Liverpool to build a six-point lead over them before they had even kicked a ball.Guardiola’s side could not afford to slip up at Molineux if they wanted to keep pace with the champions and they raced into a two-goal lead before half-time thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s penalty and Foden’s cool finish. Tense finale It was De Bruyne, showing no signs of relaxing after being voted PFA Player of the Year last season, who took the responsibility of driving City forward and in the 20th minute he prised open the Wolves defense.The Belgium midfielder’s burst into the Wolves area drew a rash lunge from Romain Saiss and referee Andre Marriner awarded a penalty that De Bruyne converted with ease.City were beaten by Wolves twice last season, but this was Guardiola’s team at their imperious best and they struck again with a slick move in the 32nd minute.Gabriel Jesus laid off to De Bruyne and his perfectly-weighted pass found Sterling, whose precise cutback teed up Foden to slot home from 12 yards.De Bruyne had a chance to make it three from Jesus’s pass, but for once he couldn’t apply the finishing touch as Rui Patricio saved well.Totally out-classed in the first half, Wolves were much improved after the break and there were worrying side for Guardiola as he surveyed his creaking defense.Daniel Podence turned to fire just wide and he threatened again with a chip over City keeper Ederson that just cleared the crossbar.Jimenez set up a tense finale when he met Podence’s cross with a powerful header in the 78th minute, but Jesus netted deep into stoppage-time as his shot deflected in off Conor Coady.
Published on February 10, 2016 at 11:08 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] Paul Flanagan’s message to his team last week was to play a complete 120 minutes of hockey. Syracuse did just that, earning two wins against Penn State in the SU’s first sweep of an opponent in a single weekend.This week, the direction is the opposite.“We’re just focused on Friday night,” Flanagan, SU’s head coach said.That’s because the Orange (14-13-4, 10-4-2 College Hockey America) would clinch a first-round bye in the CHA tournament with a win over conference foe Robert Morris (14-11-5, 6-6-4) on Friday or Saturday.Top-seed Mercyhurst currently leads the Orange in the conference standings by two points with four games left in the regular season. Meanwhile third-ranked RMU trails SU by six points and Penn State, Lindenwood and RIT are all too low in the standings to make a push for a first-round bye.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textA win over Robert Morris on Friday or Saturday would prevent the Colonials from moving into second place and earning the only other first-round bye. And while either day would suffice to beat RMU, Flanagan insists that his team gets the job done on Friday night.“The task at hand is getting those two points,” Flanagan said. “Our mindset is all about Friday night. Let’s get those two points and see where we go from there.”If the team ends up with the No. 2 spot in the conference, SU would have to travel to Mercyhurst for the CHA final if both the Orange and Lakers make it to the championship round. After never beating Mercyhurst in program history prior to last season, Syracuse has defeated the Lakers both at home and on the road this year.Flanagan said he thinks his team is better than the current top-seed Lakers this season. But he was worried about his team’s ability to find ways to win games, as SU hadn’t won back-to-back contests against the same opponent.That changed last weekend, when the Orange won both against the Nittany Lions. Jessica Sibley’s overtime goal sealed a victory on Friday, while Syracuse maintained a 2-1 second-period lead to win on Saturday.“In a couple games, we’ve gotten ahead and we’ve laid back,” defender Heather Schwarz said. “That wasn’t true this time around. When we got ahead, we kept pushing.”While Flanagan is stressing earning the clinching win on Friday night, his players, including defender Morgan Blank, want to build on the confidence established last weekend and earn the top seed.“I know no one wants to settle for second,” Blank said. “Everyone’s looking to get first, to beat Mercyhurst. I’m really hoping Mercyhurst loses this weekend and we can take that momentum into the playoffs.”If Mercyhurst loses once this weekend and Syracuse sweeps Robert Morris, the two will be tied for first place in the CHA standings heading into the final weekend of the regular season.But SU may have problems with Robert Morris’ impressive power-play. The Colonials have scored on 24 percent of its power-play opportunities, a high percentage compared to SU’s 14-percent conversion rate. Three of the last eight goals surrendered by the Orange have been power-play goals.“I don’t know the referee assignments, I’m a little nervous,” Flanagan said. “They’ve got a dynamic power play. They’ve scored a high percentage of their goals on the power play. Our (penalty kill) needs to be ready.”But Schwarz says improved chemistry on SU’s four lines — and the team’s overall development — give Syracuse an advantage over Robert Morris’ defense.“We weren’t consistent with moving our feet and being defensive against (RMU),” Schwarz said. “Since the season has gone on, that’s gotten a lot better.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+