Pep Guardiola believes Man City record-breaker Rico Lewis has ‘something special’

Pep Guardiola praised Rico Lewis as “something special” after the teenager became Manchester City’s youngest goalscorer in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The right-back, aged 17 years and 346 days, marked his first senior start by scoring City’s equalizer as they beat Sevilla 3-1 in the final group game of the Champions League.

It was a sweet moment for the Manchester-born youngster, who took full advantage of the opportunity to play in the prolonged absence of injured England international Kyle Walker.

“We don’t give gifts because he’s a Man City fan or comes from the academy,” City manager Guardiola said. “You have to earn it.

“But we’ve seen him since day one of preseason. This guy has something special.

“He’s aggressive defensively and he’s so good with the ball. Of course he still has a lot to improve, but the academy here works surprisingly well.”

Lewis’ strike early in the second half canceled out a Rafa Mir header from the first half and City easily won with more goals from Julian Alvarez and Riyad Mahrez.

Lewis was substituted off with five minutes to go and, being on the other side of the field at the time, earned a huge reception as he walked around the field back to the bench.

“He got a standing ovation from all sides,” said Guardiola. “He played really well.

“He’s 17 years old but he’s so smart, so intelligent. You say something, he understands everything. I’m happy for him.”

It was also a good night for Alvarez, who scored one goal and provided the passes for the other two goals.

Guardiola said: “There isn’t a player in the dressing room who isn’t happy for him. He’s a special guy. He was patient and found the place and rewards he deserved.”

The game was little driven as City were already in the last 16 as Group G winners.

Guardiola said: “Of course we qualified, but we finished well. For the money and the prestige, it’s good for the club. It was a good night for us, especially in the second half.”

Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli felt his side falter after a strong start.

The former Argentina coach, who was appointed last month and is trying to reverse a poor start to the season, said: “We were quite comfortable and controlled the game.

“We tried really hard mentally and physically but then shot each other in the foot with a couple of unintentional mistakes that undid a lot of our good work.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/pep-guardiola-champions-league-julian-alvarez-jorge-sampaoli-manchester-b2216485.html Pep Guardiola believes Man City record-breaker Rico Lewis has ‘something special’

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