Premier League: Pep Guardiola plays down title talk as City win at United

City extend lead to 11 points with vital victory against rivals at Old Trafford

Manchester City Manchester United Premier League
Nicolas Otamendi celebrates the winning goal with his Manchester City teammates 
(Image credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Manchester United 1 Manchester City 2

Was this the weekend the Sky Blues wrapped up the Premier League title? Not only did they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford to extend their lead over their neighbours to 11 points, but third place Chelsea also lost at the weekend, 1-0 away at West Ham, and last season’s champions now trail City by a staggering 14 points.

Given that Pep Guardiola’s side are yet to lose a league game this season it will require a sensational slump in form for City to lose the title race.

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Yesterday’s 2-1 victory was City's 14th league win in a row, and United’s first defeat at Old Trafford in 41 games since losing to the same opponents (and the same scoreline) in September last year.

Not surprisingly Jose Mourinho didn’t take the setback well, and according to The Sun he was “at the centre of a 20-man tunnel melee” after telling City players to tone down their celebrations.

He had calmed down only slightly by the time he faced the media, claiming that United should have had a penalty for a foul on Ander Herrera in the final quarter of the encounter.

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“My first reaction is I feel sorry for referee Michael Oliver because he had a very good match but unfortunately he made an important mistake,” fumed Mourinho. “Michael was unlucky because it was a clear penalty… that would have been 2-2 with 20 minutes to go.”

Asked if he thought United deserved to win the game, Mourinho said: “It depends on your perspective. They had more of the ball and apparently more control because they kept the ball more than us. But I think the players fought enough. Without any analysing the match is made of incidents and the penalty was a big incident.”

And what praise he had for the victors was given only through gritted teeth. “Manchester City are a very good team and they are protected by the luck,” said Mourinho. “And the gods of football are behind them.”

Mourinho must have feared the worst when David Silva put the visitors 1-0 up on 43 minutes but Marcus Rashford soon had United level, only for Nicolas Otamendi (at fault for United’s equaliser) to restore City’s lead when he seized on a mistake by Romelu Lukaku to volley past David de Gea.

Lukaku had the chance to atone for his error but was denied late on by City keeper Ederson, who also pulled off a brilliant save to prevent substitute Juan Mata giving United a share of the spoils.

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“This win means a lot in the way we played for our confidence,” said Guardiola, whose side are the first to win 14 successive top-flight games in a single season.

“The personality to play here is what I want. We can play this way in England. People said we couldn’t play the way we did in Barcelona in England but it is possible and we did it.”

Guardiola was amused to learn of Mourinho’s claims for a clear-cut penalty, the City manager recognising that the Special One was simply up to his old tricks.

“Last season it was the same – we won here and it was the referee,” he said. “Today as well. Yesterday he spoke about the referee. We are an honest team. We had 75% ball possession, which means we wanted to play. We came here and did that.”

Nor was Guardiola in the mood to entertain talk that the title race is already as good as over. “In December it’s impossible to be champions,” he said. “We are going to face a lot of difficulties.”

Premier League results

  • West Ham United 1 Chelsea 0
  • Burnley 1 Watford 0
  • Crystal Palace 2 AFC Bournemouth 2
  • Huddersfield Town 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 0
  • Swansea City 1 West Bromwich Albion 0
  • Tottenham Hotspur 5 Stoke City 1
  • Newcastle United 2 Leicester City 3
  • Southampton 1 Arsenal 1
  • Liverpool 1 Everton 1
  • Manchester United 1 Manchester City 2

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