Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City’s Premier League title defence had suffered a significant blow after Harry Kane’s record-breaking purpose gave Tottenham a 1-Zero win over the champions 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, who’ve a recreation 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-Zero win in opposition to the Gunners.
Asked how irritating it was to overlook the possibility to shut the hole on Arsenal, Guardiola stated: “Yes, after all, Arsenal have dropped few, few factors to this point and naturally there was a possibility.
“It was necessary to be near Arsenal and depart the fifth place within the desk, that Tottenham is correct now, far-off.
“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 purpose there.
After dominating possession within the early levels, City pale badly after Kane’s history-making purpose.
With Kevin De Bruyne left on the bench for the primary hour and Phil Foden absent from the squad resulting from sickness, City lacked the inventive high quality to provide Erling Haaland with the form of likelihood that Kane buried.
Haaland, effectively marshalled by Cristian Romero earlier than the Tottenham defender’s late purple card, did not have a single try on purpose for the primary time since his move 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.
With Joao Cancelo surprisingly allowed to affix 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 position 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 had 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 stated many occasions I knew we aren’t the identical after successful loads. Me included, I’m the primary to speak 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 susceptible than at any time in Guardiola’s reign.
With their long-time rivals Liverpool languishing in 10th place, a altering of the guard within the Premier League may very well be looming.
Quizzed on his skill to battle with City and Liverpool for the most important prizes when he was employed as Manchester United boss, Erik ten Hag prompt 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 will not be about to come back true.