Pep Guardiola launched a scathing attack on his Manchester City team and their supporters, accusing them of complacency, after coming back from 2-0 down at half-time against Tottenham Hotspur to win 4-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.
City were staring at a third defeat in a row after goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal in the opening period that led the fans to boo their team at the interval.
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A stunning second-half comeback that saw Riyad Mahrez score twice to add to goals from Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland allowed City to pick up a vital win to cut the lead to Premier League leaders Arsenal to five points.
But Guardiola was still far from happy following the full-time whistle.
« We concede four fouls and we don’t react, » Guardiola told Sky Sports. « There was nothing from the stomach and the guts, we were lucky but if we don’t change sooner or later we’re going to drop points.
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« The passion, fire, desire to win from minute one [was missing]. It’s the same as our fans, they are silent for 45 minutes.
« They booed because we we’re losing but maybe it’s the same as our team maybe we re so comfortable winning four Premier Leagues in five years. And after we score a goal they react, but that’s not the point. »
After a Carabao Cup exit to Southampton on Jan. 11, City lost 2-1 to local rivals Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday to leave them in danger of being cast adrift by Arsenal.
Guardiola insisted that they would continue to lag behind Arsenal unless his team rediscovered their intensity.
Asked if the team’s fire had gone out, the Spaniard responded: « Definitely, otherwise we don’t concede the goals we concede every single game. We give them. And today we were lucky, but the day after we will not be lucky.
« I want my fans back, my fans here. Not my fans away, they’re the best. »
Guardiola was not done there as he also took aim at critics who say that his lack of a European trophy during his time at City means his overall record in England, where he has won four Premier League crowns, is not successful.
« We have had a lot of success, » he added in his subsequent news conference. « People say ‘no, he is not successful, as he has not won the Champions League.’ Bulls—.
« We won a lot. In this country, to win the league back-to-back titles, twice, with the way we played, with consistency, against this Liverpool side? What is success?
« I have won a lot. It means every day I see things that you don’t see because you are not there. I see it. »
Information from Reuters was used in this report.