Gracious Pep Guardiola makes honest Leeds United admission after rare Manchester City defeat

PEP Guardiola lamented the lack of control that allowed 10-man Leeds United to beat his Manchester City side in stoppage time at the Etihad.

Saturday, 10th April 2021, 4:33 pm

Leeds took the lead on 42 minutes through Stuart Dallas but lost captain Liam Cooper to a red card following a VAR check on his first half stoppage time challenge on Gabriel Jesus.

A backs-to-the-wall defensive effort kept the Premier League leaders out until the 76th minute when Ferran Torres finally beat Illan Meslier.

But it was not the signal for the champions-elect to coast to victory.

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FRUSTRATION: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola during Saturday's 2-1 defeat against ten men Leeds United at the Etihad. Photo by Rui Vieira - Pool/Getty Images.

Leeds remained resolute in defence and threatened on the break, Raphinha racing clear with a chance to win it in the final stages.

It was a warning shot across the bows that City failed to heed, Gjanni Alioski finding the lung-bursting run of Stuart Dallas in time added on, the Ulsterman beating Ederson to send the three points back to Leeds.

"I congratulate Leeds first of all," said Guardiola.

"Our build up was good, we created two or three clear chances, after we make a mistake and they scored a goal.

"At 10 v 11 the game was completely different, they defended one v one so deep and when that happens you have to control Helder Costa and Raphinha. We did for 40 minutes.

"In the final third when they defend so deep, you cannot let them run, we conceded and we lost the game.

"Sometimes Leeds create more chances and lose the game.

"This game is how to defend, everyone has a plan, every manager, every team.

"We give them especially the first goal, we create chances but not too much clear, our crosses were not precise. At the end who wins, they deserve it."

Manchester City had won 27 of their previous 28 games going into the clash with the newly promoted Whites, the only defeat coming at the hands of Manchester United.

Guardiola said today's result should make City realise the scale of their recent achievements.

"What happens when you lose a game, you realise how difficult it is what you have done so far," he said.

"You realise today how difficult it is what you've just done.

"Defeat is sometimes necessary to understand what you have to do to move forward."

He refuted suggestions that the seven changes he made to the starting line-up played a part in the defeat.

"When you win I'm a genius, when you lose...I don't have any regrets, I trust a lot of them," he said.

"If I didn't trust them they wouldn't play. Everyone was good.

"Against Leeds is difficult, they are used to winning duels. They come back more aggressive than before when they lose a duel. It was a game of transitions, we have to avoid it, they did it.

"Ten against 11 we needed inspiration of the players and especially don't let them run. Raphinha had a chance, Eddy saved and the second one we could not control it.

"When you attack and attack, always we have to control, don't let them run, if not it's impossible to play in this way."

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Thank you Laura Collins