Guardiola has to 'find a solution' to Man City woes after Villa loss

AFP , Thursday 7 Dec 2023

Pep Guardiola admitted he has to "find a solution" to Manchester City's woes after the Premier League champions crashed to a damaging 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Wednesday.

Manchester City s head coach Pep Guardiola gestures during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023. AP


Guardiola's side were rocked by Leon Bailey's second-half winner at Villa Park.

Fourth-placed City are now languishing six points behind leaders Arsenal after a fourth successive league game without a victory.

Villa have climbed above them into third place, with the treble winners looking more vulnerable than any time in recent memory.

Guardiola had no immediate answer to why City have stumbled of late, with the lethargic Villa loss coming after draws with Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham.

But the City boss conceded he must get to the bottom of their alarming blip quickly.

"Six points (behind Arsenal) and we would prefer to be top of the league but we made three draws and lost today," he said.

"In these years we have found a way to win games but we struggled a bit and we have to find a way.

"It is my job to find a solution. The dynamic changes by winning games. When a team is better you have to recognise it."

Villa out-played City from start to finish, with Guardiola's team failing to muster a shot on target after Erling Haaland's two efforts in quick succession early in the first half.

Guardiola admitted City never looked comfortable, saying: "Aston Villa played better. The first half we didn't move in possession and the second half was much better and we had chances, but we struggled to find the pass and movements in the right moments.

"We have scored four or five goals with deflections so it is what it is and we have to accept Aston Villa was better and go to Luton on Sunday."

City's four defeats this season have come without Rodri in the line-up, with the influential Spain midfielder serving a suspension at Villa.

They are unbeaten in their last 43 games with Rodri in the team and Guardiola said: "Rodri is an important player of course but when he is not there we have to find a way to win without him."

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