City’s Pep Guardiola concedes Premier League title

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020 00:00 |
Pep Guardiola.

London, Monday 

Pep Guardiola conceded the title on Sunday night after locking his players in the dressing room for nearly an hour following their defeat at Tottenham.

The loss, courtesy of Steven Bergwijn’s debut goal and Heung-min Son’s strike after Manchester City were reduced to 10 men following Oleksandr Zinchenko’s red card, leaves Guardiola’s side 22 points adrift of leaders Liverpool.

And the Etihad boss has for the first time accepted defeat in their attempts to win a third consecutive title.

Guardiola initially nodded when asked if the title race was over before saying: ‘They are far away so they are unstoppable. They have a lot of points, we have dropped points quite similar to today.

‘Our targets are to win the remaining competitions and qualify for the Champions League next season.’

City were dominant before Zinchenko picked up a second yellow card to change the direction of the game.

Nevertheless, Guardiola kept his crestfallen players in the away dressing room for around 50 minutes after the loss as he held an instant inquest into the defeat.

‘No, I was not angry. Normally I don’t like it if we don’t play good, if we don’t run or we don’t fight,’ said Guardiola.

‘Never when we lose do I stay away from my players because I know them. But we lost the game so we talked about how to move forward and keep going. There’s a lot of months to play.’ 

Guardiola also took a thinly-veiled swipe at former Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore, who expressed concerns that City’s dominance could affect the division’s credibility ahead of last season after winning the title by 19 points in the previous campaign.

‘The last two seasons they said City winning the title was bad for the Premier League and that it could not happen again,’ said the City boss.

‘They said someone has to stop City getting 100 points and winning it again. So now it is Liverpool you have to be concerned with about the Premier League.’

Meanwhile, victorious manager Jose Mourinho was angry Raheem Sterling escaped a straight red card following a reckless tackle on Dele Alli early in the first half.

The Manchester City star caught his England team-mate on the right ankle which left Alli requiring lengthy treatment before being substituted in the second half as a result of the damage caused by the tackle.

Mourinho is now facing an anxious wait to discover the exact extent of the damage to Alli’s ankle.

The challenge was referred to VAR and after the game Mourinho said: ‘When the VAR decides not to give a red card to Sterling it was thinking about the globality of the game.

‘They decided to go against the rules of the game to favour the spectacle. For the majority of the game it was 11 v 11 but it should have been 11 against 10 since that very, very nasty tackle from Sterling on Dele Alli.

‘City were very lucky. If Sterling is out after a few minutes there are no chances and more chances for us.’  -AFP

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