Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City’s Premier League title defence had suffered a serious blow after Harry Kane’s record-breaking objective gave Tottenham a 1-0 win over the champion on Sunday.
Guardiola’s aspect would have moved inside two factors of leaders Arsenal with a victory in north London, however Kane’s first-half strike — which made him Tottenham’s all-time main scorer on 267 targets — left the Gunners firmly accountable for the title race.
Second-placed City are 5 factors behind Arsenal, which has a sport in hand and host Guardiola’s males on February 15.
That shall be a must-win conflict for City if they’re to have any hope of overhauling Mikel Arteta’s workforce, who had slipped up themselves on Saturday when struggling Everton snatched a shock 1-0 win towards the Gunners.
Asked how irritating it was to overlook the prospect to shut the hole on Arsenal, Guardiola stated: “Yes, of course, Arsenal have dropped few, few points so far and of course there was an opportunity.
“It was important to be close to Arsenal and leave the fifth place in the table, that Tottenham is right now, far away.
“We are not in the position to think about being champions.”
Tottenham’s plush new stadium has been a home of horrors for City because it opened in 2019.
They have misplaced on all 5 of their visits and are but to attain a single objective there.
After dominating possession within the early levels, City pale badly after Kane’s history-making objective.
With Kevin De Bruyne left on the bench for the primary hour and Phil Foden absent from the squad because of sickness, City lacked the inventive high quality to provide Erling Haaland with the sort of probability that Kane buried.
Haaland, effectively marshalled by Cristian Romero earlier than the Tottenham defender’s late pink card, did not have a single try on objective for the primary time since his transfer from Borussia Dortmund final season.
It was a worrying sight for Guardiola, who confronted criticism for leaving out Belgium playmaker De Bruyne for what he referred to as “tactical” causes.
– ‘We are not the same’ –
With Joao Cancelo surprisingly allowed to hitch Bayern Munich on mortgage final week, Guardiola as soon as once more used teenager Rico Lewis at left-back.
Lewis has huge potential however his lack of expertise within the function perfected by Cancelo as a defender with the licence to roam into midfield was obvious as Tottenham bypassed him with ease.
City’s third successive away defeat additionally raised questions on Guardiola’s religion within the underwhelming Jack Grealish and centre-backs Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake — neither capable of replicate the formidable presence supplied by Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte, who have been each among the many unused substitutes.
Guardiola conceded his workforce’s newest inconsistent show was a part of a worrying sample City have been unable to stem all through a marketing campaign that threatens to fizzle out.
“Of course I have a lot of gratitude for these players. Always I try to do my best, I don’t want to drop much but I knew it,” he stated.
“I said many times I knew we are not the same after winning a lot. Me included, I am the first to talk about that.
“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past or the success we had. No, we have to try to do it again. Now we are sad, tomorrow we will reflect.”
After successful 4 titles within the final 5 seasons, City look extra weak than at any time in Guardiola’s reign.
With their long-time rival Liverpool languishing in tenth place, a altering of the guard within the Premier League might be looming.
Quizzed on his means to battle with City and Liverpool for the main prizes when he was employed as Manchester United boss, Erik ten Hag steered a shift within the steadiness of energy was attainable.
“I admire them both. They play fantastic football. Eras come to an end,” Ten Hag stated.
Guardiola will hope Ten Hag’s daring prediction shouldn’t be about to return true.