Guardiola concedes defeat in title race

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Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF

Pep Guardiola says his first season in English football will not end with Manchester City winning the Premier League title following a shambolic 4-0 defeat at Everton.

City were beaten for the fourth time in their last eight league games as former Barcelona and Bayern Munich Guardiola boss suffered the largest league defeat of his glittering managerial career.

And with his side 10 points behind leaders Chelsea following Sunday’s setback, Guardiola conceded the title is already beyond City.

“The first one, yeah,” said Guardiola when asked if top place is now out of the question.

“The first one is a 10-point gap and that is a lot of course.

“The second one is three points, so we have to see. I spoke with the players for the last three weeks to forget about the table. Focus on the next game and do our best.

“After that, at the end of the season, we’ll analyse how our level was, our performance, the coach, the players. After we are going to decide.”

Those decisions will surely include major activity in the transfer market as Guardiola looks to make his mark on an underachieving City squad.

The Spaniard traces their troubles on failing to covert chances, while conceding to the opposition’s first shot in four of their last seven games.

“Believe me, I would like to know why,” said Guardiola. “I will be concerned and worried when they arrive six or seven times and create a lot of chances.

“That’s then our problem to control the game. I know in many cases the people don’t agree with me but to control the game means you have the possession to create enough chances and concede as few as possible.

“That has happened. But what happens when they arrive for the first time – it’s a goal!

“It is tough for the players. I was a player and understand how tough it is for them right now.

“We are trying to do absolutely everything. But it’s not the first time it’s happened this season.

“I had eight years as a coach and won seven titles. That is an exceptional situation. That is not a good argument for our people and I have to look forward for the best solution for our players to win again.”

– Embarrassment –
Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas put Everton firmly in control in the opening 46 minutes, before teenagers Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman, with their first goals for the club, completed the rout.

But despite the embarrassment of his worst ever league result, Guardiola insisted that his desire to success in the Premier League has not faded.

“I’m so happy in Manchester,” he said. “Of course I prefer to win than lose but I’m so happy with the way I’m trying to do the best as possible to achieve what I think is the best way to play.

“When we beat Crystal Palace and Burnley I was so happy but that was not the way I wanted to play. We couldn’t make three or four passes. We were so lucky.”

In contrast, Everton manager Ronald Koeman is seeing huge improvements in his squad and was able to use new signing Morgan Schneiderlin, bought from Manchester United this week, as a second half substitute.

“It was a perfect afternoon,” said Koeman. “How we played in the second half was really outstanding, really perfect.

“It might have been impossible to play at a higher level in every aspect of football.”

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