Silva is the perfect player, says City's Guardiola after rampant win

Silva is the perfect player, says City's Guardiola after rampant win

Soccer Football - Champions League - Round of 16 First Leg - Sporting CP v Manchester City - Estadio Jose Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal - February 15, 2022 Manchester City's Bernardo Silva with manager Pep Guardiola after being substituted Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

  • Manchester City were dominant from start to finish in the Portuguese capital to all but seal their spot in the quarter-finals, with the five-goal victory the joint-biggest winning margin in a Champions League knockout game
  • Silva scored his first-ever Champions League brace and his first goals in the competition in almost a year in a vintage display, a performance all the sweeter given that he came through the academy at Sporting's rivals Benfica

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola said Bernardo Silva was the "perfect player" after the Portuguese midfielder's double helped his side to secure a 5-0 win over Sporting Lisbon in their Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday.

Manchester City were dominant from start to finish in the Portuguese capital to all but seal their spot in the quarter-finals, with the five-goal victory the joint-biggest winning margin in a Champions League knockout game.

Silva scored his first-ever Champions League brace and his first goals in the competition in almost a year in a vintage display, a performance all the sweeter given that he came through the academy at Sporting's rivals Benfica.

"I always tell him 'you are the perfect player'," Guardiola said. "With the ball he is more than exceptional, but I always say to him you have to go and win games, you have to have the ability to do it. He has the technique, everything.

"This was his home town, and he loves coming back here. Of course he is a former Benfica player, so this was special for him tonight."

Looking to go one better after losing in the final to Chelsea last season, and pursuing the one major trophy that has eluded Guardiola since he joined City in 2016, the Premier League champions laid down a marker in Lisbon.

But despite steering his side to their biggest ever win in an away game in any round of the competition, the Spaniard was not totally satisfied with what he saw in the Jose Alvalade Stadium.

"We defended well and got an incredible result," he added. "We have a duty to look at the performance too, even if the result is a dream.

"The performance could have been better. The difference between the two teams is not 0-5, but we were just so clinical.

"If we do go through to the quarter-finals, who knows what will happen. Last season we made a perfect Champions League season, then we lost the final. Then we are seen as a failure. I will not hide behind a 5-0 win, there is a long way to go."

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Pep Guardiola Manchester City Bernardo Silva Sporting Lisbon UEFA Champions League

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