Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City played perfectly in the hands of Tottenham as Spurs pulled to the top of the table with a 2-0 victory thanks to counterattack goals from Son Heung-min and Giovani Lo Celso. Spurs haven’t won a top English title in 60 years, but have shown their credentials with defensive resilience to thwart City’s dominance of possession and ruthlessly try their luck by scoring with their only two shots on target. Defeat the leaves Manchester city already eight points behind the leaders, but with a game in hand, in 11th position with only three wins in their first eight games.
The writing was on the wall for the visitors after just five minutes when a simple ball over Tanguy Ndombele surprised Joao Cancelo sleeping and Son had the pace and precise finish under Ederson to score his sixth goal in 11. matches against City.
“The statistics speak for themselves, we were better in many departments but we conceded a goal that we cannot concede,” said Guardiola.
“It was the perfect scenario for them. We knew (Harry) Kane fell and Son ran behind. We need to defend better.
The victory allowed Tottenham to end the day at the top of the table for the first time in six years. Jose Mourinho’s men move two points ahead of Chelsea, which they face next weekend at Stamford Bridge.
“I prefer to be top but it’s not an obsession,” said Mourinho. I don’t care about the table, the opponent, the competition. I want to go to the next game believing we can win the game.
“This team is a process. There are good signs of evolution at all levels, we are happy about that, but I don’t care too much about the table right now.”
Guardiola ended speculation about his future by committing to a new contract as City boss until 2023 this week.
The Catalan has won eight league titles in Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City, but Guardiola now faces a challenge he’s never had before rebuilding a title-winning second team at the same club.
For the sixth consecutive league game, City failed to score more than once with few signs that Guardiola’s men are rediscovering the edge of the free-scoring teams who have won back-to-back titles in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
“We are struggling to score goals this season, it can happen,” added Guardiola. “They shot twice (on target), two goals and we can’t score with 22 shots.”
Tottenham’s title challenge will be fully tested with Arsenal, Liverpool and Leicester also coming before Christmas, but they couldn’t have started this intimidating race better.
“You can see it’s open with the way the table is held,” Kane said after Spurs’ fourth straight league win. “Whoever can create a good spell has a chance to win it.”
After the first game, the game then settled into the familiar pattern of 24 clashes between Mourinho and Guardiola, as Mourinho’s men defended their lead deeply and waited for the opportunity to counter again.
The visitors held 66% possession but struggled to break through the mass ranks of the Spurs defense.
Gabriel Jesus inadvertently deflected Kevin De Bruyne’s low shot before Jesus pitched Aymeric Laporte to come home, but the goal was ruled out for handball by the Brazilian after a VAR exam.
Instead, it was Tottenham who landed the knockout 25 minutes from time with another simple counterattack.
Kane had plenty of time and space to grab a loose ball in midfield and move forward before feeding Lo Celso, who had barely been on the pitch for a minute and with his first two touches he controlled and then glided the ball. beyond Ederson’s advance. .
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