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Criticism of Bravo unfair, says James

Former Manchester City goalkeeper David James has leapt to the defence of embattled shot-stopper Claudio Bravo, insisting the criticism of the Chilean has been unfair.

Bravo has come under fire for his performances in the Premier League this season, struggling to settle into his position as Joe Hart's successor.

The Chile international arrived from Barcelona to help build attacks from the back under manager Pep Guardiola but he has conceded from 16 of the past 24 shots on target he has faced, with City's title hopes fading.

But James - who spent two seasons at City from 2004 to 2006 - feels Bravo has been exposed by his team-mates.

"Bravo's come under a lot of scrutiny recently, I think unfairly," James said, speaking at the launch event this week for the Star Sixes tournament, to be held at the O2 Arena in London in July.

"It's become almost like a cliché, like 'It's Bravo's fault, it's Bravo's fault.' It's not, you analyse the goals that are going in and he's been so exposed.

"You think, if everyone's pushing forward, and I have to go back to my analysis point of view that, someone like [Kevin] De Bruyne who, before he joined Man City, was possibly the perfect midfielder. Goes forward, creates goals, scores goals, but he'd also tackle back and would tackle people in his own box. I haven't seen as much of that, if any of that, this season.

"Again, the criticism of anyone has to be challenged with the actual understanding of what the manager wants.

"If Pep Guardiola wants Bravo to play a certain way, which obviously seems he does, then the player's got to do what his manager says."

City - fifth in the league - face Crystal Palace in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, before travelling to West Ham in the Premier League on Wednesday.

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