Pep Guardiola still harbours concerns over the quality of Manchester City’s penalty takers after Rodri scored from the spot against Tottenham.
Rodri opened the scoring in the 23rd minute on Saturday, though his finish only just escaped the grasp of Hugo Lloris, who should have done better.
Ilkay Gundogan – who missed a penalty in the 4-1 win over Liverpool last week – won the spot-kick and then scored twice to take his tally of league goals in 2021 to nine and seal a 3-0 win.
Though City are now seven points clear at the top, and 13 ahead of reigning champions Liverpool, who went down 3-1 at Leicester City earlier on Saturday, Guardiola was not best pleased when asked about Rodri taking the spot-kick.
The former Atletico Madrid midfielder had never scored a penalty in his senior career, and Guardiola told BBC Sport: “The penalty is clear and then the first time we attack in the second half we score, that can happen.
“Is Rodri the taker now? No. I would say I admire the courage to take the penalty but it was not a good penalty.
“I am not laughing, I am concerned about this. We will have a real specialist to take them with quality. We have to practice.”
Ederson provided a sensational assist for Gundogan’s second goal – the third time the goalkeeper has set up a goal during his time at City – and Guardiola seems to be seriously considering the Brazil international as a potential penalty taker.
Guardiola added: “When I talk about Ederson and penalties, you see his assist, 60-70 yards, well then he will score from 12 yards!”
— Ilkay Gündogan (@IlkayGuendogan) February 13, 2021
However, Guardiola’s decision may come as news to Rodri, who also revealed he ignored the advice of Ederson, who appeared to pass on some information via Bernard Silva in the build-up to the spot-kick.
“I was a bit angry in the last weeks because we missed many penalties, much more than we expect, and in big games you have to score penalties because the margins are so small,” Rodri told Sky Sports.
“I told my team-mates that for the next penalty I would shoot. I got the ball, nobody took the ball off me. Fortunately, I scored.
“Goalkeepers know each other, [Ederson] told Bernardo some tips about Lloris, where I should shoot the penalty – I didn’t listen! Sometimes it’s better to focus on what you’re confident doing.
“We were laughing in the locker room, next penalty for sure I am going to take.”
Despite City’s penalty problems, Guardiola’s team are ploughing on in their bid to recover the title they lost last season.
City remain unbeaten in their past 23 matches in all competitions (W20 D3), conceding just six goals during this period, and have won 11 Premier League games in a row.
They have not trailed for a single minute in any of their past 15 Premier League matches since a 2-0 loss to Spurs in the reverse fixture in November; in the competition’s history, only Arsenal have embarked on a longer run of successive games without going behind (a run of 19 matches between December 1998 and May 1999).
One other issue for Guardiola, however, could be Gundogan’s fitness.
The Germany international has scored more goals since the turn of the year than any other player in Europe’s ‘top five’ leagues but succumbed to a groin problem midway through the second half.
Guardiola confirmed the 30-year-old will undergo further checks in the coming days.