Man City boss Guardiola praises 'quality' Roberts

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola praised Patrick Roberts’ “good quality” after the on-loan Celtic winger scored against his parent club.

Roberts, 19, put the Scottish champions ahead with a fine individual goal before City fought back to draw the Champions League group match 1-1.

The England Under-19 international joined City from Fulham in July 2015 for a fee in the region of £12m.

“He has potential. I am so happy with his performance,” said Guardiola.

“We are going to talk about his future at the end of the season. We know his quality but the decision is not about one game. It is for one season.”

Roberts has scored 10 goals for the Scottish Premiership leaders since arriving on an 18-month loan deal in January.

Celtic manager Rodgers described him as a “top young English talent” and said he is “in the right place at this time in the career”.

“There’s no point in him sitting on the bench and not playing,” the Northern Irishman added.

“I’m sure there will be a big career for him at Manchester City. He’ll come back here in the summer and Pep and his staff will have a real good look at him.

“But I think they’ll be really encouraged by what they saw.”

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Guardiola pleased to progress from ‘tough’ group

City already knew they were guaranteed to finish to second in Group C – behind Spanish champions Barcelona – no matter what happened against Celtic.

Guardiola’s side had mixed fortunes in the group stage, hammering Borussia Monchengladbach in the opener before dropping points for the first time under the former Bayern Munich coach in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Celtic Park.

The Blues then recovered from a chastening 4-0 defeat at Barcelona by beating Guardiola’s old club for the first time at the sixth attempt.

And a 1-1 draw at Monchengladbach secured a place in the last 16 for the fourth successive season.

City, who reached the semi-finals last season, will be paired with one of Atletico Madrid, Napoli, Monaco, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus or Sevilla when the last-16 draw is made on Monday.

“Considering Manchester City in their history just once reached the semi-final, and just four times in a row the last 16, we are so happy,” said Guardiola.

“The Champions League is not easy, especially for the teams who don’t have a lot of experience in Europe. We cannot forget that.

“We have to win the respect during our performances and through the next years. We are going to see the draw and see how is our level in February.”

Champions League – who’s going through?
Group A: PSG and Arsenal
Group B: Benfica and Napoli
Group C: Barcelona and Manchester City
Group D: Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich
Group E: Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen
Group F: Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid
Group G: Leicester and one of Porto or FC Copenhagen
Group H: Juventus and one of Sevilla or Lyon
Ludogorets, Besiktas, Borussia Moenchengladbach and FC Rostov have confirmed their places in the Europa League


Phil McNulty, chief football writer

Manchester City’s group stage was a mixed bag, but was more than good enough to get them out of a tough section in the place most would have predicted.

City’s performances can be summed up by their two displays against Barcelona – mauled 4-0 in the Nou Camp, City were magnificent when winning 3-1 after going behind at Etihad Stadium.

This is a side who could beat the best and yet may still have the capacity to lose to those outside the elite.

Guardiola, however, is well within his rights to be satisfied with a campaign that saw them ensure qualification with a game to spare.

For Celtic, manager Brendan Rodgers knew it would be tough to progress but their display here showed signs that they have learned lessons from the experience.

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