Pep Guardiola was ‘worried’ at late Leicester rally | Jamie Redknapp: Man City got incredibly lucky

Pep Guardiola admitted he was “worried” by Leicester’s late rally in the 3-1 win while Jamie Redknapp said Guardiola’s Man City side were “incredibly lucky” to win.

John Stones opened the scoring early on before two further first-half goals from Erling Haaland, the first from the penalty spot and the second set up by Kevin De Bruyne, settled the result before the break.

The hope for Leicester in Dean Smith’s first game in charge was their final 15 minutes when substitute Kelechi Iheanacho’s late goal against his former club almost triggered the most unlikely of comebacks with the Nigeria forward and James Maddison missing late chances.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s win against Leicester in the Premier League

By that point in the match, Guardiola, whose side face Bayern Munich on Wednesday, had made five substitutions, taking off John Stones, Rodri, Haaland, De Bruyne and Jack Grealish as City completely lost their rhythm in the final stages.

Guardiola told Sky Sports: “It’s always tricky after the Champions League against a team who is fighting but the quality is there. We started really well with focus but when you make lots of substitutions you drop a little bit. It’s three points and we move to the next one.

“It was completely different because the guys that start the second half it was the same approach as the beginning. I have a little bit of experience to play in three days in the important stages and you make a lot of substitutions and some dynamics we have and some players don’t. And when the game was under control we made the changes.

“Of course it was worrying – we made a mistake and then they had the chance with Maddison and Kelechi. The game was tricky in the last 15 minutes. But the first 60-65 minutes was good.”

The victory takes City to within three points of Arsenal with a game in hand. Mikel Arteta’s side play West Ham, live on Super Sunday with Man City and the Gunners set to lock horns on Wednesday April 26

Guardiola said: “Like I said lately, it is always win, win and win. They have done an incredible season so far, aren’t going to drop many points. It was important to win today because it is a final we have against them in the next game.”

Redknapp: Man City got incredibly lucky

Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp:

“It could have backfired for Manchester City, taking Rodri, De Bruyne, Grealish and Haaland off. It goes to 3-1 and Maddison and Iheanacho had great chances. Man City had no answers. They got away with it. Of course you have to make changes and protect players but they were incredibly lucky today.

“From Leicester’s point of view, Dean Smith will take 3-1 but they had momentum when the goal went in. He can turn that into a positive but it was self-inflicted by the changes that Guardiola made.”

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Jamie Redknapp was full of praise for Kevin De Bruyne after his performance against Leicester and says he compares to the best midfielders in Premier League history

Analysis: Guardiola subs disrupt fluency

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:

“Guardiola is so conscious of the demanding fixture list that it is understandable that he was persuaded to remove Haaland and Stones at half-time before also taking off Rodri, De Bruyne and Grealish in the second half. However, it made for an unexpectedly nervous finish to the game.

“City are a team that rely heavily on rhythm, every player knowing their position precisely. Once Kalvin Phillips, Cole Palmer and Sergio Gomez were on the pitch and the in-form performers were not, the impact on the fluency of their football was significant The fans did not enjoy it.

“They may have to get used to it. Any minute that can be saved is a minute Guardiola will feel he can use in a moment when it is more essential. Despite the change of mood, Leicester did not get within two goals of them in that second half. We may see more of this from you.”

Smith liked what he saw as he tries to lift confidence

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Dean Smith was pleased with the character shown from his team in Leicester’s 3-1 loss to Manchester City and says the result won’t define their season.

Leicester boss Dean Smith said:

“There are good players in that dressing room, they have shown in the last 20 minutes they are good characters as well. We have tried to lift the confidence. I saw a lethargy last week against Bournemouth, I did not see it today.

“I think I learned an awful lot and five subs gave me an opportunity to see others too.

“The game plan was to stay in the game. The natural instinct is to attack and press, but I’ve seen too many teams do that and be on the end of a hiding. We were unfortunate to concede two early on, a volley and an unfortunate penalty. You have to suffer then.

“We miss a 50-50 for the third goal but I saw enough from the players and saw enough in the second half that there is character. My job is to get that out of them.

“A lot of very good teams lost by more than two here. Our season is never going to be defined by coming to the Etihad but it would have been very interesting if one of the Maddison or Iheanacho chances had gone in. Whether it was us improving or putting them on the brakes, I will have to watch it back.”