Manchester City have shown their resolve to overcome Rodri’s red card to secure three points against Nottingham Forest. The City squad is lauded for the quality of football they play, but yesterday saw another side to the treble winners.
With their backs against the wall following Rodri’s red card at the beginning of the second half, City showed they can dig deep in the face of adversity. Not often does Pep Guardiola’s side have to show that side of their game. It’s a necessary quality that all champion teams possess, a willingness to win no matter the circumstance.
The game showed both sides of Manchester City’s game. The opening half-hour was some of the best football seen from Guardiola’s side. They dominated possession and pressed Forest at every opportunity. The 2-nil halftime lead could’ve been more such was their dominance.
In the second half, they had to show the other side of their game. After Rodri’s red card, Pep changed to a back 5 and the team had to scrap and fight to maintain their lead. It’s a quality City possesses and has served them well in title races past.
Each City player adapted to the new requirements as Forest pressed for a way back into the game. There were countless blocks from Ruben Dias and Josko Gvardiol, and Nathan Ake neutralized any Forest threat at left-back. Matheus Nunes showed the defensive side to his game as that’s what the situation required. Phil Foden and Erling Haaland persevered upfront and did what the team required to take the three points.
None of the required hard work was beneath any of the Manchester City stars. It showed the resolve of Pep Guardiola’s side, a quality that is often overlooked.