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Guardiola: “Kolarov had one of the best performances” at center back

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Although he’s typically been employed as a wing back throughout his career, Aleksandar Kolarov put in one of the best performances out of a center back; at least according to new manager Pep Guardiola.

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Manchester City came away with a 2-1 win over Sunderland in Guardiola’s debut match on Saturday, while Kolarov strung together a strong effort in the center of the City backline while paired with newcomer John Stones.

“I think Kolarov had one of the best performances I have seen in a central defender,” said Guardiola. “He won all the long balls, he was quality with passes and he was strong. Kolarov not just today but in the last few games played really well.”

With captain Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala all sidelined for the opener, Guardiola had limited options in the heart of the City defense, which prompted the move for Kolarov.

Despite his strong effort though, Guardiola says he would like to play Otamendi against Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League.

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“Hopefully he can play. Steaua Bucharest play with long balls and of course Nico is so important,” he added. “He had a little problem with his tendon and I could not risk two games in just three days, so that’s why I decided to play with John Stones and Kolarov.”

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