Pep Guardiola: Man City must be more 'clinical' after wasted chances
MANCHESTER -- Pep Guardiola said his Manchester City players were not clinical enough after they let a two-goal lead slip in the Manchester derby to leave their Premier League title party on hold.
City needed a victory over their bitter rivals to secure the title and were leading at half-time through goals from captain Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan.
But they wasted a number of good chances with Raheem Sterling, playing as a false nine with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus left on the bench, missing two glorious opportunities.
"We made a good game in general especially the first half. But it's [in the] boxes," Guardiola told a news conference. "In this level against these rivals, when you have chances you have to score two or three.
"After you will have bad moments, in the last two games every time they arrive they score a goals. They shoot four times and score three goals and when this happens it's so complicated. We created enough to score more goals but congratulations to United."
City have now conceded six times in their last two games following their 3-0 defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday.
After falling behind United with two goals from Paul Pogba and a Chris Smalling header, City still had chances to rescue the game but David de Gea made a wonder-save from Sergio Aguero and Sterling hit the post from two yards.
They could also have a late penalty when Ashley Young caught Aguero with a high tackle in the area but Guardiola refused to blame referee Martin Atkinson for the result.
"They told me that but I didn't see it. I cannot judge," he said of the incident.
"We are the team who conceded the least goals and least chances for the opponents. But when you arrive at that level for the important games like at Anfield, where they created two chances and scored two goals. But the problem there was we didn't create enough chances to punish them.
"The last action from De Gea and it's unbelievable how we didn't score the goal. I had the feeling we did it. We did absolutely everything today. We create and were calm. But at that level when you have these chances you have to be clinical."
City need two more victories to win the Premier League and Guardiola said his players should now get more credit for being so far ahead in a tough campaign.
"The people have said since November and December that the Premier League is done, but it's a tough tough fight to keep going and keep focusing every weekend," he added.
"In football anything can happen, it's the first time we've lost two games in a row this season and now we have to recover and try again, go back to the basics and win games. We're going to try on Tuesday and in the next games."
Guardiola spoke to Pogba after the match following his surprise claim that the Frenchman was offered to City by his agent Mino Raiola. But the Catalan insisted they only spoke about the game.
"I congratulated him for the result," he said.
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.