It doesn’t come much tougher than making your Premier League debut in a Manchester derby, as Claudio Bravo found out on Saturday.
Manchester City’s late summer arrival from Barcelona was thrown into the deep end at Old Trafford and can count himself fortunate to finish the game at all, never mind on the winning side.
A rash tackle on Wayne Rooney could have easily seen referee Mark Clattenburg produce a red card following an erratic flap at an aerial ball previously gifted Man United a lifeline through Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal before half time.
The 33-year-old received the backing of his manager Pep Guardiola, who claimed his new goalkeeper had been ‘amazing’, but received plenty of criticism from pundits and fans alike after a tricky debut in English football.
Despite being under a lot of pressure for the majority of the game, Bravo played down his shaky performance.
When asked afterwards how he was feeling about his first appearance in a City shirt, Bravo said: “Good, good. Comfortable. We have a team here that has personality, we are improving day by day and the matches that we want to win are these, against our rivals, and for that reason I am happy,” as per the Manchester Evening News.
The Chilean looked anything but comfortable when Rooney was bearing down on him after a heavy touch and appeared to catch the United captain with his studs up.
Jose Mourinho was heavily critical of Clattenburg’s decision to overlook the challenge and a penalty would have given the Red Devils the chance to level the game up after a promising start to the second half.
Nevertheless, Bravo will try to move on quickly from Saturday’s victory and insisted he was pleased with the start of his Man City career.
He added: “I am happy with my first week, with the work I have done.
“It was a very important victory for us. In the first half we were incredible when we controlled the ball, had lots of chances and in the second half we played differently – defensively we were very, very solid.
“We played well against a very big team and a team that was very strong and they kept putting the ball in the air to try and complicate things but we survived.”
The addition of Bravo at the expense of Joe Hart has arguably been one of Guardiola’s most controversial decisions to date as Man City boss and after showing certain frailties against United, you can guarantee Premier League sides will severely test the Chilean’s ability to deal with crosses over the next few weeks.