Pep Guardiola praised defender Nathan Ake for his performance in Manchester City’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup, calling him an “exceptional guy”.
Ake scored the only goal of the game after calmly slotting the ball past goalkeeper Matt Turner in the second half to send his side through to the fifth round of the competition.
The 27-year-old has only not featured in one of City’s matches since club football returned after the World Cup and Guardiola believes the Netherlands international is having an outstanding individual season.
Speaking to BBC Sport, he said: “What a season he (Ake) is playing. He controlled one of the toughest opponents in the Premier League because Saka is in an incredible moment.
“He is really good in the duels in the box, defending the far post and set pieces is an extra bonus. He is an exceptional guy, there was a period where he didn’t play and he never complained once.
“We were definitely better in the second half. Arsenal have taken a step forward. It was a tight game and you realise how good a side they are. I did not expect the approach from them – man-to-man – it was difficult to build up but we beat the team at the top of the league and are in the next round.”
City are next in action on February 5 away at Tottenham in the Premier League.
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