Pep Guardiola praised Ferran Torres after his hat-trick against Newcastle, saying he could be Man City’s new No.9 ahead of Sergio Aguero’s departure this summer.
The Spaniard scored three sensational goals in a thrilling 4-3 win at St James’ Park, showing superb instincts and reactions as City came back twice from behind to claim the victory.
Guardiola has at times started games without a recognized striker this season, and with Aguero leaving the club in six weeks, links are already starting to be made with some of Europe’s top talent ahead of the summer transfer window.
But Guardiola believes the young forward – whom he initially signed as a winger – could become Man City’s new No.9 in the future and praised him for his overall improvement this season.
The Man City manager said: “Not just tonight, of course, tonight was important, but his first season in England and his numbers are exceptional. He came as a winger, but he has to think about (being ) a striker. When Sergio, Gabriel were out he was there. He scored against Leeds and Crystal Palace. He didn’t have a lot of minutes, but when he played he had a sense of goal.
“Yeah he can be [a No 9]. We will use it, we used it and it was brilliant. His pace, especially defensive, has improved a lot. The game at the Palace, it takes a turn [in his season] – so good. The move he makes as a striker, for the [third] goal, it hits the bar and where it goes, he knew.
“The smell, the forwards intuitively know where it’s going to happen. He has that talent and the opening goal is fantastic. Very happy.”
“Maybe I need to think about how he can play as a forward because every time he plays in this position he always has a real sense of purpose. He’s an incredible signing for us. as a young player he can play three positions up front, but playing more central he has an incredible sense of goal. “
He is a real leader for us. He immediately tells young and old what he believes, because he has incredible experience in the locker room and in big teams. He is an amazing person and we are delighted, not just me but all the players, that today he can play.
For request of Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves If Torres could be Aguero’s successor rather than a new signing, Guardiola replied: “I don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe we buy a striker, maybe not.
“We have a guy, he’s young. A good transfer. I can use him left, right or as a striker. The season is too long, we can’t play just 11 players, the best striker we can buy can’t play every minute. You have to have 50, 60, 70 best players you want, then the academy, we have two, three, four interesting players, I’m sure next season will help us.
“That’s why they hate me gamers, when you have these alternatives it’s so hard to let all the gamers play.”
Could he save Man City £ 100million? Former city defender Joleon Lescott said Sky Sports: “Maybe. It’s a lot of pressure to put it all on him and say you have to be No 9 for next season, but he’s definitely in contention to be in that slot.
“We talked about him before the game and he seems like a natural successor for Aguero, especially in that No.9 role, and he has proven that against Newcastle.”
Torres: an amazing week
The man of the moment Torres also reflected on a huge week for Man City, telling Sky Sports: “It’s been an amazing week, we qualified for the Champions League, won the Premier League and I managed a hat-trick. Very happy.
“I try to get better every day and I also try to learn from my teammates and my coach. I try to keep improving and preparing for the Champions League final. “
“I always try to get to the near post for the set pieces, I threw the ball and I think it was a very nice goal.”
Experts: Will Torres go to the CL final?
Lescott agrees Torres could be the new No.9 for his old side, but doesn’t think he will start the Champions League final in a few weeks.
“He was exceptional. It was an instinctive finish,” he said. Sky Sports. “I don’t know how to start [in the final]. I think Pep knows the squad and the squad he wants to play. I don’t see Torres in there, even though he managed a hat-trick at Newcastle. I think he went up the pecking order in terms of upcoming submarines.
Former forward Andy Cole agreed, adding: “After a performance like that he’s the first sub. If I need a goal, and he’s playing as hard as he is now, I’m going for him. “
Cole was also impressed with Torres on Friday night and compared him to compatriot Gabriel Jesus.
He said Sky Sports: “He was sharp. He was in the right place at the right time, but his finish was clinical and that’s what they want. Naturally, he will be the future of Manchester City as well. They definitely have a player there. .
“After watching him today, I see potential because his movement is good. If you look at his targets, they’re all poachers targets.
“A hat-trick at any point in your career is going to put you on a really good level, but this one is huge for him.
“The difference between him and Jesus is movement, it’s totally different. I’m looking at Jesus today and he barely moved. You look at Torres and it’s totally different. He wants to put himself in the right areas to score goals.
“I look at all the goals against Newcastle and he’s in the right position. He feels it and eventually you have to try to get yourself in a certain position too, but if you think the goalkeeper could parry him or it could come out post and you get there first, he did, definitely. He’s definitely one for the future. “
Bruce: We scared Man City
Despite the loss, it was another goal-laden performance for Newcastle after beating Leicester 4-2 last time with the Magpies looking to end the season on a high.
Head Coach Steve Bruce, who won the Premier League Manager of the Month award in April earlier on Friday, Told Sky Sports: “We tried well. We scared Man City tonight but we weren’t good enough.
“While I can’t remember which goalie made save after save, the lack of precision of a few goals is the disappointing thing of the whole night for me.
“How often do you score three against this crowd? Not very often, so what’s disappointing is that we just stood up and were a little naive and sometimes our defense needed to be better.
“It’s just about finding the right balance, we know we’re a threat to the counterattack and a threat to any team, but we have to find that balance defensively.
“We can’t continue to concede as we unfortunately did because it’s not often that you can score three and four in the Premier League, we have to defend better.
“Now we have to try to get a few wins if we can and finish the season in the form we are in. We have to stay there and see where we can go.”
What’s next for Willock?
It was another superb performance from Joe Willock, who scored Newcastle’s third goal in the second half after winning a penalty, the loaner from Arsenal now scoring five successive Premier League games.
Since arriving at Newcastle he has scored more goals than any Arsenal player during this period, so what does the future hold for Willock?
Before the game Cole said Sky Sports: “He should be looking to play regular football in the first team. When you have the opportunity to make a loan, you have to take it as a great experience, but at the end of the day after that loan period you have to look more far in your career.
“Going to Newcastle, which is such a big club, to prove that he can play at this level and score goals… Next season he has to be like ‘I want to play regular first team football. “
Lescott added: “I don’t want to compare them, but if (Emile) Smith Rowe had scored the goals he scored, there would be talk of him going to the Euros with him at Arsenal. Emphasis on that.
“But he’s definitely going to want to play next season and if it’s not for Newcastle there will be options for him.”
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