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Guardiola remaining upbeat; puts Man City loss squarely on the shoulders of one man

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola refused to be critical of his players and felt striker Harry Kane was the difference in defeat to Tottenham.

The champions lost just their third Premier League game of the season with a 3-2 reverse at home to Spurs. It was 1-1 at half-time after Ilkay Gundogan had equalised Dejan Kulusevski’s fourth-minute opener. Kane gave Antonio Conte’s side a 2-1 advantage with a 59th-minute strike.

And it seemed as though that would be enough to earn the visitors all three points before a dramatic last few minutes. Riyad Mahrez scored from the penalty spot two minutes into stoppage time before Kane bagged the winner three minutes later.

The result lifted the north Londoners above Wolves and into seventh spot in the table. City remain top but, with Liverpool beating Norwich, the Reds are now only six points behind with a game in hand.

Guardiola was philosophical in defeat and felt having Kane in the side meant Spurs were always going to be a threat.

“Well it was a good game. We tried through many sides, especially down the left. It is very difficult, they defend so narrow,” he told Sky Sports. “Tottenham have a lot of quality, they give the ball to Harry Kane. They are really good up front.

“In the first half they have the goal and no more. In the second half they have one attack with Harry Kane at the start and they score.”

Guardiola sees no surprises in Tottenham display

City have won an astonishing 20 top-flight games in 2021-2022. Their last league defeat came against Crystal Palace on October 30 last year, with 15 wins and a draw in their past 16 outings.

But the Etihad loss means Spurs have done the double over the north-west giants having won 1-0 in their opening fixture. Guardiola was pleased with his side’s performance and believes their opponents executed a well-worked gameplan to perfection.

“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,” he told BBC Sport.

“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…

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