Manchester - Pep Guardiola kept his Manchester City players
in the dressing room for nearly an hour after a 1-1 draw with Southampton meant
the club had now gone five games without a victory despite the result taking
them back to the top of the Premier League.
The City manager insisted that he was not venting his anger
on a squad that started his first season in charge at Eastlands with 10
But he was clearly frustrated by a loss of form that has
seen them beaten at Tottenham Hotspur and held at home by Everton and, now,
Southampton, in their last three league outings.
"The red wine was good and I took a little bit longer
with my glass," joked Guardiola, who has also seen his team draw at Celtic
and be beaten 4-0 away to former club Barcelona during their current run, as he
spoke to reporters following Sunday's stalemate.
"But we were together and spoke but nothing special -
just about what the situation is we now have and we have to try and go up from
Substitute Kelechi Iheanacho at least salvaged a point for
City and cancelled out a first-half opening goal from Nathan Redmond.
"I was a football player, I know this can happen,"
said Guardiola when he finally emerged from the City dressing room.
"In football, I have known for a long time, you are
able to win 10 times in a row then you're not able to win for five times.
"We have to accept that when that happens, accept you have
to return to what you were doing before. But I'm not a guy to get angry. I have
to discover the reason why this has happened."
Guardiola's mood cannot have been helped by the fact that a
bad error by England defender John Stones - one similar to that made by
goalkeeper Claudio Bravo in the midweek loss to Barcelona - gifted Southampton
their goal, although the Spaniard insisted he had no problem with such
"People can talk about an own goal at Tottenham,
Claudio in Barcelona or two missed penalties against Everton but it's not about
that," said Guardiola.
"It is easy for a manager to say that excuse but it is
because of something more, about the team, about how you react in these
"Right now, in this moment, we're just not in that
rhythm we had before. But the big difference between us in the first half and
second half was obvious.
"The first half was a problem, the second half the
players changed their mentality and were unfortunate they couldn't win."
"Five games without winning is because something
happened but we need to start from a bit below where we were and go up and
Guardiola can start that improvement in the League Cup local
derby visit to Manchester United on Wednesday although it seems likely both he
and opposite number Jose Mourinho will rest key players.
"We will see tomorrow (Monday), after the players'
recovery, then decide if it's necessary to make rotations or not," said
Guardiola of his team selection.
"It's important to change our dynamic from the previous
games. Everything influences you. If you can play well or badly, it affects
your mentality, so we are working on it."
Meanwhile Southampton manager Claude Puel was delighted by
the resilience his side showed following their narrow Europa League loss away
to Inter Milan in midweek.
"I'm happy of course for the point and also with the
spirit," he said. It was a significant game against a good team."