Pep Guardiola says Man City must improve in both boxes after Boro draw
MANCHESTER -- Pep Guardiola says Manchester City need to improve in both boxes after Middlesbrough snatched an injury-time equaliser at the Etihad Stadium.
City had 25 shots against Boro but beat goalkeeper Victor Valdes only once when Sergio Aguero gave the hosts the lead two minutes before half-time, and they paid the price for a sluggish second-half performance when Marten de Roon headed an equaliser in the 91st minute.
Guardiola said his side deserved the three points but bemoaned their lack of clinical finishing, with Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne both missing good opportunities to wrap up the three points while Victor Valdes made two great saves in the first half.
"We need to improve in both boxes, both offensively and defensively, to score goals and not concede," he told a news conference.
"I don't have regrets but I am sad for the players. I am a guy who lost at White Hart Lane and said [they played] better. I think the players didn't deserve it."
It is City's third successive 1-1 draw at home and could see them drop from first to fourth by the end of the weekend.
It was a disappointing end to a week that began with a 4-0 win at West Bromwich Albion followed by a 3-1 win over Barcelona in the Champions League, and Guardiola said fatigue may have been a factor.
"The second half we didn't play like the first one but I think they have made one chance in the beginning of the second half and the last minute," he said.
"We created enough chances, we attacked really well and controlled the counter-attacks. We create enough chances -- more than enough to win the game and when you arrive in the last minutes at just 1-0, everything can happen.
"Talking about the performance after a demanding game last Tuesday, how we start, move the game, right, left, and maybe in the last minutes the team can be tired.
"If we score the second goal, the chance for Sergio, the game was over. In the last minutes anything can happen."
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka felt his side showed too much respect to City in the first half as they failed to create single opportunity.
However, his resilient team have lost only once away from home and their second-half showing ensured they picked up a second successive draw on the road following their 0-0 draw with Arsenal.
"Today we went to the pitch and showed them too much respect," he said. "In the first half we just tried to defend and when you are against big teams and you just think you are going to defend, you concede a goal. At half-time I told them we had to play.
"That both games we could compete against two of the best teams in the league -- or even in the world because Arsenal and Manchester City have amazing squads -- for us to compete with them at their stadiums is good for us, to keep going to believe in ourselves."
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.