Pep Guardiola laments Spurs defending 'so deep and compact' after shock win over his Man City side

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Pep Guardiola laments Tottenham defending ‘so deep and compact’ but admits Antonio Conte’s side were lethal on the counter attack in shock win over his Man City side

  • Manchester City’s title hopes suffered a blow with a 3-2 defeat at home to Spurs
  • Harry Kane scored twice, winning it for Tottenham with a 95th minutes header 
  • Antonio Conte’s side sat back and patiently waited to pounce on the counter
  • Pep Guardiola was happy with his side’s game plan despite the costly defeat 


Pep Guardiola couldn’t find fault in his Manchester City stars’ performance in a dramatic defeat to Spurs, admitting his frustration at Antonio Conte’s defensive setup.

Harry Kane rocked the title race by pulling-off a masterclass to outwit the Manchester City defence on Saturday, pulling Spurs ahead in the second-half before heading a 95th minute winner to answer Riyad Mahrez’s injury-time spot-kick.  

City dominated possession and peppered Spurs with shots but were stifled by Conte’s defensive roadblock, camped just outside the penalty box. 

Pep Guardiola's Man City were stunned by Tottenham on Saturday, losing 3-2 at the Etihad

Pep Guardiola’s Man City were stunned by Tottenham on Saturday, losing 3-2 at the Etihad

Harry Kane struck twice, the second a 95th minute winner which opens up the race for the title

Harry Kane struck twice, the second a 95th minute winner which opens up the race for the title

The three points dropped at the Etihad could prove costly for De Bruyne and Co, with Liverpool closing the gap to six points atop the Premier League – with the Reds holding a game in hand. Guardiola won’t be panicking yet but his frustration was evident.  

‘After going behind, they defended so deep and so compact – it was incredible,’ the Citizens boss told Match of the Day. 

‘They don’t lose the ball with Harry Kane and can run as well with Son and Kulusevski.

‘I think we played well. We created a lot of chances. I can’t say anything wrong about the team because we were there all the time. But it was difficult.

City pressed hard for goals but couldn't consistently break down the low Tottenham block

City pressed hard for goals but couldn’t consistently break down the low Tottenham block 

Raheem Sterling and Co gave the Spurs defenders a tough night but they couldn't finish

Raheem Sterling and Co gave the Spurs defenders a tough night but they couldn’t finish 

‘They played the way I expected them to play. They were good in the build-up and created a lot of space to run on the counter-attack, but in general we coped well and played a good game.

‘Everyone knows what Kane gives. For the first goal we defended the pass inside badly, but after 10 to 15 minutes we created a lot of chances. Lloris was brilliant. We have to score more.’

Spurs went into a surprise early lead with Dejan Kulusevski scoring just four minutes into his first Premier League start after a slow City start. The Citizens took control of the ball and built up the pressure until Hugo Lloris’ spill setup Ilkay Gundogun for a fortunate leveller.

All City’s pressure counted for nought after Kane scored the second and celebrated another minutes later, only for VAR to spot a Kulusevski offside in the build-up. VAR also spotted Cristian Romero’s handball on 89 minutes, awarding a penalty Riyad Mahrez swept in to setup a presumed late charge by the hosts. 

Antonio Conte is back in the Premier League and is making an impact again with his tactics

Antonio Conte is back in the Premier League and is making an impact again with his tactics

Instead Kane bagged the winner moments later, and Guardiola knows there’ll be more challenges ahead. 

‘I don’t need to lose a game to know it (how tough it is to win the league),’ Guardiola told Sky Sports. 

He continued: ‘The problem was attacking against five or six at the back when they are physical. Brentford were like this, defending so deep. We had the chances to score but unfortunately, we could not score. 

‘They can make the runners and they are clinical. The crosses we could not defend.

‘People say it can not happen, football can happen.’ 

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