News ID: 207348
Published: 0307 GMT January 01, 2018

City will not remain unbeaten, Guardiola says

City will not remain unbeaten, Guardiola says
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks across the pitch during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park in London on December 31, 2017.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola reiterated his belief his side will not go through the Premier League season unbeaten after its 18-game top-flight winning run was ended by a goalless draw at Crystal Palace.

City conceded an injury-time penalty but goalkeeper Ederson saved from Luka Milivojevic, prompting BBC’s Match of the Day host Gary Lineker to say Guardiola's side has an "air of invincibility about them", BBC reported.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal went through the 2003-04 Premier League season unbeaten, but Guardiola thinks City will not match that feat.

"I am not thinking to be unbeaten," said Guardiola.

"That is not going to happen.

"Maybe Arsene is worried about that but I tell him many times that 2004 run is for him. Today is completely different to 2004.

"There are now more strong teams, a lot of competitions, a lot of games."


Player protection


Guardiola suggested English football needs to act to protect players after the draw at Palace was marred by some heavy challenges, most notably a tackle from Jason Puncheon on Kevin De Bruyne that resulted in the Premier League’s outstanding player this season being taken off on a stretcher.

De Bruyne may have been fortunate to escape serious injury, with suggestions he might miss only the home game against Watford tonight, but the City manager emphasized his issue is not with English football’s physicality but its policing of contact.

“I admire the physicality of the league, but they [the FA] know exactly what they have to do,” Guardiola said.

“People focus on diving and this kind of thing, and that’s OK.

“But the contact is more allowed here than other countries, and that’s OK too, but there are limits. We were lucky against Tottenham [with injuries] and against Newcastle and today we saw what happened.

“They don’t have to change the way they play here – that’s why it is so nice, they play in different ways in different countries. But there is a line and when you go beyond that it can be dangerous. The referee has to follow the rules but also protect the players.

“The football is quicker and the action is great, the players don’t want to hurt each other but there are moments, and then players can be out for a long time.”

Guardiola confirmed Gabriel Jesus is out for at least a month with a knee injury he sustained early in the first half, and which reduced the Brazilian to tears, but said that did not mean City would make a move for Alexis Sánchez in January having come close to signing the Arsenal forward during the summer.

“No, he is a player from Arsenal and I think he is going to stay there,” said the Catalan.

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