Guardiola Rules Man City Out Of Premier League Title Race
Pep Guardiola has acknowledged that his Manchester City side “cannot win” the Premier League title following their 2-1 defeat against rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
City were under pressure to get a result against their fierce and in-form rivals as they headed into the 189th Manchester derby sitting five points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal.
After a goalless first half, City were on top at the start of the second half and eventually made the breakthrough on the hour mark, with Jack Grealish finishing off a well-worked team move with a close-range header, just four minutes after coming off the bench.
However, Bruno Fernandes equalised with a somewhat controversial goal, after Marcus Rashford – initially caught offside – left the ball for his Portuguese teammate to strike past Ederson in the 78th minute.
Eighteen-year-old substitute Alejandro Garnacho then became the youngest player to provide an assist in the Manchester derby when he teed up Rashford for the winning goal inside the six-yard box just four minutes later to complete the comeback.
Erik ten Hag’s men have now moved up to third and to within one point of Man City in second place, while Guardiola’s side could end the weekend eight points behind Arsenal if they beat rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Recall City got knocked out of the Carabao Cup after going down 2-0 to Southampton in the quarter-finals.
Nevertheless, Guardiola has admitted that he ‘does not care’ about either the Premier League or the Carabao Cup and is instead focused on helping his side play with the correct attitude and performance levels.
Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Guardiola said: “The game was really good. We played very good. [United] are incredible threat in transitions and counter-attacks. Congratulations to the team.
“I’m proud to come here and play with this personality. They ran behind us and punished us in transitions. In the first half [we had control] except for the first five to ten minutes because out full-backs were not in the right positions, but the second half was really good.
“We missed a little bit of our threat up front. Our players up front were a little bit disconnected. It is not easy when [United] follow man-to-man. Their full-backs were close to our wingers, but yeah I think we made a fantastic game considering the quality of our opponent.”
Asked about his side’s current position at the halfway stage of the season with many games still remaining, Guardiola replied: “I don’t care about the Premier League and the Carabao Cup, we cannot win. We’ve won a lot so it’s not a problem.”
“The problem is performing how we have done. Always we are focussed on that. So Carabao Cup we are out, it doesn’t matter. We didn’t perform how we are. Today we performed.
“Don’t be distracted by what happened today, with the first goal, focus now on Spurs in a few days.”
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