Pep Guardiola insists individual mistakes are not to blame for Manchester City’s slump in form.
City’s winless run stretched to five games – the joint longest of Guardiola’s managerial career – after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton at the Etihad.
Four days after Claudio Bravo’s needless sending off in the 4-0 Champions League loss to Barcelona, John Stones presented Nathan Redmond with the opening goal.
City did not have a shot on target in the first half – although Stones saw an effort chalked off for a debatable offside – but the hosts dominated the second period and substitute Kelechi Iheanacho netted the equaliser.
Guardiola, who won his first 10 matches in charge, kept his players in the dressing room for nearly an hour after the match but denied he was angry.
The Catalan said with a smile: “The red wine was good and I took a little bit longer. We were together, we speak but nothing special. We speak about what is the situation.
“I was a football player and I know this can happen. You are able to win 10 times in a row and after you are not able to win five times. You have to accept that. I have to discover the reason why.”
Guardiola insisted ahead of the game he would not change his ball-playing philosophy, but passing out from the back again proved costly, with Stones failing to look as he attempted a pass to Vincent Kompany and instead leaving Redmond one on one.
The City boss said of his side’s mistakes: “It’s hard for us, yes. The opponents at the end, they don’t do too much, long balls and sometimes counter-attacks.
“But today I think it is not part of the reason. The difference between the first half and the second half was obvious and that is what we have to realise.
“Today with John and Wednesday with Claudio, that is not the reason. Against Everton we miss two penalties and we play amazing and didn’t win.
“It is something more and about the team and how you rebel, how you react. When you see the second half it is because these guys are good and I have to help them to achieve and to reach (the performance) in the second half, when it is 11 against 11 in Barcelona and in the second half against Everton.
“I know when you start (at a new club) it is always difficult. We start quite well. Now in that moment we are not in that rhythm we had before. We didn’t have 90 bad, bad minutes. But when we are not perfect, we concede a lot.”
Guardiola also suffered a blow with Kevin De Bruyne picking up a knock in the first half that meant he had to be substituted.