LONDON • Pep Guardiola admitted he cannot guarantee Manchester City will emerge from their slump, after Phil Foden came off the bench to rescue a 1-1 Premier League draw at West Ham yesterday.
City fell behind to Michail Antonio’s superb overhead kick in the first half at the London Stadium.
England midfielder Foden then came on at half-time and produced an instant equaliser, but Guardiola’s men could not deliver the knockout blow and have now won just one of their last four league games.
Speaking to BT Sport, the City boss said: “We started really well. But we suffered in the last 10 or 15 minutes of the first half.
“In the second half we were better and scored early. We had the chances we needed to win the game, but unfortunately we couldn’t score.
“We created enough. Their defenders were defending so deep so it’s difficult to find spaces, but we had the chances.
“I’m not a guy who can predict the future. We’ve already dropped seven points, which is a lot. But we’ve struggled a lot for many reasons.
“We have to take things game by game and see what happens.”
Foden was also gutted not to have won the match.
“We would like to get the points today, I think we played very well and controlled most of the game,” he said.
“Very disappointed to not win the game but we will get over it tomorrow and improve on things for the next game.”
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I’m not a guy who can predict the future. We’ve already dropped seven points, which is a lot. But we’ve struggled a lot for many reasons.
The 20-year-old equalised in the 51st minute with a sharp near-post finish and City dominated thereafter, but could not find a winner with Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez coming the closest.
Adding to Guardiola’s problems, Sergio Aguero, just back after several months out following knee surgery, was substituted by Foden after suffering a “hamstring injury”, according to the City boss.
He did not know how long his star striker would be sidelined for.
City, already without the injured Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake and Gabriel Jesus, have rarely reached peak form in the latest of a growing list of inconsistent displays.
While they beat Arsenal and Porto in their previous two matches, City still do not seem to have completely recovered from their 5-2 thrashing by Leicester last month.
They are already five points behind leaders Everton (13), who play Southampton today, and look more vulnerable than at any time since Guardiola’s first season in charge.
City have eight points after five league matches, and, according to the BBC, it is the first time a team managed by Guardiola have failed to reach at least 10 points after five fixtures of a top-flight campaign.
Tricky trips to Marseille in the Champions League and Sheffield United this week will provide a further test of just how determined City are to recover the all-conquering form that swept them to the title in 2018 and 2019.
For West Ham, this was another encouraging result, after fighting back from 3-0 down at Tottenham with three goals in the last 10 minutes in their previous match.
Hammers boss David Moyes was pleased with his side’s performance, saying: “I take a fantastic point against a really good team. The character the players showed, their attitude to stick at it.
“Manchester City have come here two of three times recently, winning by four or five, so today’s performance was much improved.
“I have to say, the way they have played and trained they have been very good.
“I’m really pleased. It was getting tough the way Man City came on at us. I’m really pleased we took a point from the game.”
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS