The City manager claimed he had not wanted to deny youngsters playing in a Friday night elite development squad fixture in order just to sit on the first-team bench. But Guardiola's decision was also interpreted as a gesture in response to his recent complaints that his players are not receiving enough protection from referees, leading to a long injury list at the Etihad, as well as City's failure to land Riyad Mahrez from Leicester before Wednesday's transfer deadline. City still had enough talent on display and, after taking the lead, Sterling cut into the box and shot firmly into Pope’s body before the England forward worked a clever one-two with Ilkay Gundogan that almost opened up another chance. Burnley, seeking to end a worrying run of eight league games without victory, responded well to going behind, however, and created their best opening after 31 minutes.
Pep Guardiola's squad isn't quite big enough to afford him seven substitutes today, so he's only named six ? Watch it live on Sky Sports Premier League or follow here: https://t.co/eAo5NUDsZP pic.twitter.com/HA5gPZ2hyp— Sky Sports PL (@SkySportsPL) February 3, 2018
Gundogan saw a couple more chances blocked and, after 54 minutes, a selfless pass from Aguero set up the unmarked Sterling for a chance which he blasted over from six yards. The chances kept coming with Danilo close to another goal from the edge of the area, denied only by Pope’s fingertip save. Those misses might have proved costly when a Vincent Kompany error gifted the ball to Ashley Barnes and, three passes later, presented Aaron Lennon with the chance for a blistering shot which Ederson brilliantly tipped onto the bar.
#PEP: Well, it’s football. Sometimes (Sterling miss) can happen. Next game he is going to score. @edersonmoraes93 made two good saves. It was not the key point for dropping two points - it’s all our responsibility.— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 3, 2018