Despite succumbing to a shock 2-1 defeat at relegation-threatened Newcastle United, Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, remains confident about chasing down Liverpool in the Premier League.
The reigning Premier League champions were handed a surprising 2-1 defeat at Newcastle on Tuesday night. City’s night started in the best possible manner, with Sergio Aguero putting them ahead just after 24 seconds of play – the fastest goal of the Premier League this season. They came agonizingly close to doubling their advantage going into the break, but David Silva’s header was cleared off the goal-line by Newcastle defender, Fabian Schar.
— DNA (@dna) January 30, 2019
The hosts grew in confidence in the second half and finally punished City for their lack of sharpness up top. Salomon Rondon latched on to Isaac Hayden’s inviting ball into the area and dispatched an unstoppable shot past Ederson to restore parity. Newcastle were immediately pushed on the backfoot but continued to threaten in bits and pieces. Finally, in the 80th minute, came their moment of redemption. Fernandinho’s clumsy foul brought down Sean Longstaff inside the area, and the match official didn’t hesitate to point to the spot. Matt Ritchie, who played a pivotal part in Newcastle’s opener, stepped up to the plate and sent the St. James’ Park into a frenzy by dispatching a perfect penalty kick.
Arsenal’s Invincibles couldn’t defend their title and it looks like the Manchester City centurions won’t either. The Premier League is so tough to win.
Ferguson defended his title 6 times, won 3 in a row twice & took his title defence to the final day 3 more times. GOAT.
— Sibs 🔰 (@SibsMUFC) January 30, 2019
Speaking of the performance, Guardiola, as per BBC Sport, said:
“It was not our best night, we didn’t make a good performance. We didn’t take the rhythm of the game, it was slow and we weren’t aggressive enough. They didn’t do too much, two shots on target but it was not a good performance.”
“Sometimes scoring so early helps, sometimes it’s not so good. It didn’t help us play today. The referee said don’t take the free-kick it until I give permission so I don’t know [about the disallowed goal], it isn’t why we did not win. The game was not good. We did not defend the second ball well, we have to improve.”
“We had a chance today to reduce the lead. Tomorrow is a game for our opponent. When you are behind you have to win games and we couldn’t do that. I know the challenge is big, being in all competitions is what it is. If you want to go up as a club you have to accept that challenge. I prefer to be in that position.”
Liverpool, who take on Leicester City on Wednesday night, can open up a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League table. With just 14 games to play, a seven-point advantage could be decisive, but Guardiola believes City are still in the title race.
“Well, it’s a lot of points if they go on to win, but we are in January, it’s not April or May. There are still many games and anything can happen,” he said, as quoted by TalkSport.
“A lot of teams are playing many reasons, teams to stay in the Premier League, others to go to the Europa League, for the Champions League.”
“In our case, every game, we have to do our best to be there, try to not give up, move forward and try another time and another time,” he concluded.