‘They were the better side,’ bemoans Pep Guardiola after Manchester City slump to dismal Aston Villa defeat 

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola felt he could not question the desire of his players, but expressed that the better side won in their 1-0 loss to Aston Villa at Villa Park last night. 

Leon Bailey’s second half deflected effort would be the difference on the night, as Unai Emery’s Midlands outfit leapfrogged the Citizens to claim third place in the Premier League table. 

An off-colour City, however, were well beaten after an abject display from the visitors saw only Erling Haaland muster a double effort on goal, as the Villans would dominate the proceedings – themselves producing no less than 22 efforts at goal!

The result makes it 16 wins in a row at home for Aston Villa, who have quietly entered the title race as they move just four points behind leaders Arsenal – who they’ll meet on the weekend. 

For Guardiola and Manchester City, who missed the likes of Rodri, Jérémy Doku and Jack Grealish for the fixture, the result pushes them further behind what is shaping to be one of the most open title races in years. 

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‘As a manager, I have to find a way to lift them again to find a way to win games. I’m here to help them though, but we are struggling,’ said Guardiola. 

‘Aston Villa were better than us tonight. They played a fantastic game and we struggled to make our passes and be aggressive in some moments – the better team won.’

‘Our desire was there, but they played better. We struggled especially in the first-half.’

‘The first fifteen minutes, we were the better side. They arrived and had a physical team and pressed well.’

‘The second-half was completely different, we struggled with the quality of the pass in the final third and didn’t find movement in all the game.’

‘They are organised, so it is difficult to find the pockets and the moments in behind where we struggled a bit.’

‘There are consequences, the fact that we haven’t won the last two games builds pressure. It is though the quality of the Premier League, the teams are exceptional.’

‘The challenge is now to go to Luton and try to win the game. In reality, we know what we have to do.’