MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said Saturday’s 3-2 derby defeat by Manchester United shows that winning the Premier League isn’t as easy as his team have made it look this season.
City could have wrapped up the title with a victory but instead they suffered their first home defeat this season, giving up a two goal lead in the process and leaving them possibly needing two more wins from their last six games.
“For the fans it is tough and maybe we are going to get more credit if we are able to win the Premier League and people will say how tough it is to win,” Guardiola said after the game.
“In November, December everybody said the Premier League is done. But it was a tough, tough fight to keep going every weekend to be focused. This is the first time we lost two games in a row.”
With United having closed the gap, a win at Tottenham Hotspur next Saturday for City will not be enough for the title, provided that Jose Mourinho’s team take care of business against bottom club West Bromwich Albion the next day.
While it was a bitter occasion for City’s fans, who had hoped to lord it over their cross-town rivals, Guardiola said some perspective was needed. He also turned his mind quickly to Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final tie with Liverpool, which City trail 3-0 from the first-leg.
“Of course we are sad for ourselves, for our fans - but we still have 13 points advantage and goal difference,” he said.
“We have to win two more games and after the game on Tuesday we are going to focus on the Premier League to try as quick as possible to get it.”
Guardiola’s mind was partly on Liverpool before the derby as he made four changes to his team and rested key midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who like Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus was restricted to a late substitute appearance.
The former Barcelona coach said his team had paid the price for not taking their chances during a first half in which they dominated.
“My dream is that, as in the first half when we didn’t concede anything, it would happen again in the second half,” added Guardiola.
“But a good manager (Jose Mourinho) maybe said in the first half ‘guys, we have to do something more’.
“We were not good enough in the end. The schedule is like this, that’s why this competition is so tough. We will try to pick ourselves up for Liverpool, we are professionals.”
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge