Guardiola not panicking over City’s sloppiness

Guardiola not panicking over City’s sloppiness

LONDON • Pep Guardiola insisted he was unconcerned as Manchester City sat mid-table in the Premier League with a win, loss and draw from their opening three matches.

The title favourites dropped more points on Saturday as Leeds earned a 1-1 draw at Elland Road with a second-half equaliser from Rodrigo Moreno.

Raheem Sterling put the visitors ahead after 17 minutes, but for the second straight league game following their 5-2 loss to Leicester, City could not make an early lead count.

During City’s back-to-back title-winning seasons under Guardiola, they were strong front runners – when they grabbed the opener on 65 occasions, they went on to win 60 of those games.

Now, they are already playing catch up.

City trail early pacesetters Everton (12) by eight points, albeit having played a game less, and face a tricky visit from Arsenal next after the international break.

“I’m not going to start after three games to think about if they (champions Liverpool) are going to win the league or if they’re going to take a lot of advantage. It’s what it is,” Guardiola said after City failed to win in successive games for the first time since December 2018.

“I know when we finish the last one, I know when we come back this season with the players that we have and, as a manager, I’m satisfied for what they have done so far. We had to settle a few things, still we are a little bit away at the best that we can do.”

City had 12 shots at goal in the first half but Leeds improved dramatically after the break, with Rodrigo pouncing on a mistake from City goalkeeper Ederson in the 59th minute.

With three defenders conceding penalties to Leicester, individual errors have cost City, although Ederson arguably earned his side a point.

He tipped a goal-bound Rodrigo header onto the bar on a night the hosts found the target seven times compared to City’s two.

    10 Years (nine years and 272 days to be exact) since Leeds forward Rodrigo Moreno scored his first Premier League goal in January, 2011.

“It was possible to win the game, but it wouldn’t have been fair to have won,” said Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa, whose side out-passed City, completing (351 to 313) more passes while having more of the ball (52.5 per cent).

“We had to put on an immense physical effort to be able to be on even terms or slightly better than Manchester City for half the game. We had to survive the beginning of the first half and the end of the second half.”

REUTERS