BURNLEY, England (Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said their performance in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Burnley was one of the best of the season but the Spaniard was frustrated by his side’s failure to score more goals against what he called “the most British of teams”.
City had over 70 percent possession against Sean Dyche’s team but after Brazilian Danilo gave the visitors a 22nd minute lead, they failed to turn that dominance into goals and paid the price when Johann Berg Gudmundsson levelled in the 82nd.
“Of course we are frustrated in terms of the result but the performance was outstanding against a Burnley side who are the most British of teams in terms of long balls and the way they play,” said Guardiola after the Premier League game.
“What they do, they do really, really, well,” added the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach, who was left to rue his side’s missed chances, including an absolute sitter from close range by Raheem Sterling in the 71st minute.
“Football is about goals. We needed to score the second, third and fourth when we had the chance. When you arrive in the last 15 minutes at Burnley 1-0, this is what can happen. I’m sad for the players because we played so well,” he said.
Burnley are seventh in the standings, well above expectations for a team with one of the smallest budgets in the league, and they stuck at the task despite City outplaying them for large stretches of the game.
“What they have done this season, Burnley, is amazing. We controlled the game, but when we arrived in the last minutes at 1-0, there is danger,” said Guardiola.
Sterling was substituted three minutes after missing from point-blank range with the goal at his mercy but Guardiola said the error was not behind his decision.
“No, not for that reason. No, it is football. Next day he is going to score. Today he missed one chance. That is football. That can happen,” he said.
“It was not just Raheem, it was a lot. We arrive in the last action and we were not able to do that. It was an outstanding performance. We are sad for the dropped two points but to come here and play the way we played is almost impossible,” he said.
With a number of injuries, Guardiola named players for just six of the seven substitute slots — a decision which was criticised by television pundit and former Manchester United defender Gary Neville as letting down City’s youth system.
But Guardiola defended his decision, saying he had no more senior players and with his Under-23 team having played on Friday he did not want to call up a player from that squad.
“We don’t have any more players. They are injured so I would like to have 18 players. I could call one of the second team but they play for the second team on Friday,” he said.
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Ken Ferris