Kyle Walker admitted he choose not to celebrate his match-winning goal for Manchester City against Sheffield United out of respect for his boyhood club.
Sheffield-born Walker, who came through the ranks at Bramall Lane as a young player, marked his 100th Premier League appearance for City with the only goal of the game.
It was the right-back’s first goal in almost a year, since finding the net in a 2-1 victory against Southampton on November 2, but it brought a muted celebration from the 30-year-old.
Following City’s 1-0 success, Walker told BT Sport. “My mum and dad live here, so if I’d celebrated they probably would have got a lot of stick. I’m a Sheffield United fan, so I couldn’t.
“My first game for Aston Villa was here and I scored with my left peg, so I seem to like this ground.”
It was only a second Premier League clean sheet for City this season and Walker was impressed by the central defensive pairing of Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias.
“They’ve done fantastic, especially Ruben since he’s come in,” he said. “He’s played a lot of games and shown what a quality signing he is.
“I think whoever steps in there, if it’s John (Stones), Nathan (Ake), Eric (Garcia), Ruben or Aymeric, they’re all going to put in top performances.”
Guardiola’s team deservedly took the lead in the 28th minute. City had seen a host of chances pass them by, with Aaron Ramsdale making a fine save from point-blank range to deny Ferran Torres shortly before, but Walker’s shot from 25 yards out skidded off the rain-sodden surface and into the bottom corner of the net.
City missed a host of other chances in the second half a well, with Ramsdale making another fine save to keep out a Riyad Mahrez free-kick.
In the absence of the club’s all-time leading goal scorer Sergio Aguero and fellow striker Gabriel Jesus, Guardiola admits his team are lacking a cutting edge in front of goal.
“It was our third game in seven days, away all of them. We played a real good tempo, as you have to do against Sheffield, and with a rhythm that if you don’t control they punish you,” said Guardiola.
“In the first half we played really well and created a lot of chances but we were unable to score goals. They only had one clear chance in 90 minutes, so that is so good for us in defence, but unfortunately when we arrive in the final third we were not clinical enough.
“Nine goal in five games is not enough. Sometimes I understand completely why, there are many reasons, and hopefully that will change. We are struggling right now to score goals.”
Blades boss Chris Wilder was left frustrated by his side’s inability to maintain possession, accusing the Blades of regularly giving the ball away “cheaply”.
“You’ve got to play at the top of your ability to get anything from games against Manchester City and Liverpool, and to keep turning the ball over as often as we did made that very difficult,” said Wilder.
“People talk about players and shapes, but when you can’t pass the ball from A to B then it makes it even harder. Good players keep it away from you and they have some unbelievable players.
“I fancied us and I thought we could get something from the game at times. We had to stay in the game, which most teams have to against Manchester City, but my big disappointment is we didn’t do enough to put them on the back foot and affect the result.
“When it was our time to play and go forward and create, we just gave it away cheaply. They didn’t give it away cheaply, they kept the ball away from us and moved us about the pitch.
“Sometimes it is not enough to be an aggressive side who has a go, you’ve got to show more than that to stay in this division and we didn’t show enough, against albeit a fabulous team. We have to be better with the ball and stop giving it back so cheaply.”