Pep effusive in praise for Rodri after magnificent goal, performance

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Pep Guardiola raved about his Manchester City side after a 4-1 defeat of Burnley on Tuesday at Turf Moor, though previous criticisms were clearly still in his head.

Guardiola either didn’t understand or was caught off guard by a relatively straight-forward question about Rodri’s quality allowing Fernandinho to play center back, and bristled a bit.

[ RECAP: Burnley 1-4 Man City ]

“We are open to accept your opinions but at the end we know the qualities of the players much better than all of you and we know what the team needs in this moment. In Fernandinho for his personality and his character is an important player.”

Well, then. A simple misunderstanding, but perhaps a look into the mindset of the man right now.

The manager was very happy with Gabriel Jesus‘ brace and Rodri’s Man of the Match performance, one which included a bullet goal, as City rebounded from back-to-back draws against Shakhtar Donetsk and Newcastle.

He saved special praise for Rodri.

“He was incredible,” Guardiola said. “His position in the transition is so clever. He has a much better picture of our game in his head. He’s a fantastic player, so young and perfect in his physicality. He’s got it because a guy who wants to learn and listen, he’s ready, and that’s why we can count on him.”

As for Jesus, who scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season in the place of injured Sergio Aguero, Guardiola expressed his confidence in the 22-year-old Brazilian.

“We need him so,” Guardiola said. “Strikers have to score goals and we need him. His effort and his commitment is always there, but strikers like him live for the goal and to score is important. … Of course it’s not easy but the team doesn’t have a doubt about him.”

Man City next hosts Manchester United on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC.