By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Nerves affected Manchester City in their surprise 2-0 defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, according to manager Pep Guardiola whose side are now eight points behind leaders Liverpool after eight matches.
Wolves had three early chances to punish City’s sloppy passing and lax defending and although the champions survived those opportunities, Guardiola said they impacted his team’s approach.
“It was a bad day, sometimes it happens,” said Guardiola, who pointed the finger more at wayward passing than his makeshift central defensive pairing of Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho.
“We started quite well and after we conceded two situations in our buildup where it’s impossible to defend, we got a little bit nervous.
“We controlled them better in the second half but at the end with us attacking and people up front, we lost balls in positions it is so difficult and they were clinical.
“Before that we hit the post we had actions but the way we played was not good. It was not a good day, we didn’t play good,” he said.
The former Barcelona boss, who has won the last two Premier League titles, said his belief in his team remained unshakeable despite them suffering a second loss in four games.
“I know these guys, they can still do it. It was a bad day, a bad game. Credit to the opponent. What’s happened has happened…
“Today was the day we were not on our level. The previous games were good. The distance is big, Liverpool have not dropped points.
“Now is the time to come back. The results will dictate the situation, but we are in October and there’s a long way to go,” he said.
German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan conceded City were well below-par.
“We are disappointed, we are sad, and we are frustrated. We have to admit that today wasn’t enough which is very unusual for us,” he said.
“It is what it is and tough to take right now – especially before the international break when you have two weeks. But we have to do better afterwards.”
“We know we are able to play and we know our qualities but we were not able to put that on the pitch today.”
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis)