Pep Guardiola mentioned four Manchester City players when discussing the reasons for their 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon.
After Arsenal secured a stunning 2-4 comeback win over Aston Villa just hours earlier, Bernardo Silva’s stunning first-half opener had set the Premier League champions on their way to returning to the top of the division.
Chris Wood’s late equalizer for the Premier League newcomers shocked the visitors, who failed to revive their lead in the game, and came away from the City Ground with just a single point despite 23 shots at Keylor Navas’ goal.
City missed plenty of chances throughout the contest, with two huge opportunities squandered in the second half, leaving manager Pep Guardiola with plenty to think about when speaking to the press after the game.
The Catalan coach was initially asked how many games he felt his Manchester City side had not played well in all season before he went on to provide an overall assessment of the clash in Nottinghamshire.
“We expect goals after the games, the way we played, the chances we conceded, created. Always we are there, we are on top. Arsenal played really good (on Wednesday night), but they (Nottingham Forest) shoot two chances, in general in the second half, we try to play to create more chances, concede few and be stable as a team,” Guardiola said.
The City coach continued, “I would say for the way we did and didn’t get what we deserved. Football is not about who deserves, in the end, you have to score the goals.”
“So Phil (Foden) has to score, (Erling) Haaland has to score, Aymer (Laporte) has to score, Kevin (De Bruyne) has to be more accurate. What have they (Nottingham Forest) done? First-half one shot in the corner, not much. We were stable in many things, set-pieces we defended well, and we attacked well. But it’s about putting the ball in the next. The players know it.”
Continuing on the subject of the four players name-dropped by Pep Guardiola, he said, “Do you think Phil, Aymer, or Erling doesn’t know how to score? They want to score. But we didn’t do it. If you ask me here to give an explanation, I would say, ‘I don’t have it’. You ask me why? I don’t have it.”
“Normally the manager has to answer all the questions knowing the truth, and we don’t know – it’s football. Sometimes it happens. But I liked the way we played, I liked the way we behaved. But we don’t score.”
Manchester City now takes a short break from their relentless Premier League requirements this week, as they embark on the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League at the last-16 stage.
Pep Guardiola’s squad travel to Germany in their latest pursuit of securing a first Champions League title, as they take on RB Leipzig across a two-legged affair with the second of those clashes taking place at the Etihad Stadium.
Asked whether the midweek match in Europe is the perfect opportunity for City to refocus from the result against Nottingham Forest, Guardiola said, “Now it’s time to recover, recover the team, focus on the next game, of course.”
“We’ll see what happens. I think we made, in general, a really, really good game (against Nottingham Forest). It’s another competition, and of course today we are sad, we were happy a few days ago. Today we are sad, it’s part of the business, the job. Keep going.”
AFC Bournemouth is Manchester City’s next opponent in the Premier League, as they travel to the south coast next Saturday for the evening kick-off – with the clear intention being to bounce back immediately from disappointment this weekend with a victory.