Pep Guardiola felt Manchester City lacked finesse at the business end of the pitch after watching his side draw 1-1 at Aston Villa.
City were looking to leapfrog Arsenal to the top of the table but had to settle for a share of the spoils in the West Midlands. After a goalless first half, Erling Haaland bagged his 10th goal of the season on 50 minutes to give the champions the lead. The Norway international volleyed home at the back post from Kevin de Bruyne’s superb cross.
But the Citizens could not hold on to the lead as Leon Bailey equalised on 74 minutes. City dominated the majority of the match, with De Bruyne hitting the crossbar from a free-kick.
Villa looked to have sealed a shock victory when Philippe Coutinho netted late on but the Brazilian’s effort was chalked off for offside.
The result leaves the Etihad outfit one point behind table-topping Arsenal, with the Gunners set to face Manchester United on Sunday.
Guardiola was philosophical after the contest and pointed out why his side had struggled to find a winner.
“Good game. We conceded just one goal from one shot on target in 90 minutes,” he told Sky Sports. “We were not precise in our final third touches and our simple things, especially in the first half.
“We had chances to score a second when the game was in our hands but we didn’t.
“We were better after the goal. But we were just not precise enough in the crosses. We missed a few situations and that’s why we could not score.”
Guardiola expecting tough campaign
Manchester City enjoyed the majority of possession at Villa Park. But they came up against a side determined to put on a better show after recent poor results.
And the Spaniard acknowledged that the opposition were a handful throughout the game.
“They [Villa] defended well, they are well organised and physical,” he added. “The way we defended we created enough chances to score goals, we defended well apart from one action.”
City remain unbeaten in 2022-2023 and are level with Tottenham on 14 points. Great rivals Liverpool are down in sixth with nine points to their name after a goalless draw with Everton on Saturday.
Guardiola’s side are in a great position to challenge for the title once again and now have Haaland to bolster their hopes. But the former Barcelona chief acknowledged that there are no easy games in the Premier League.
“Many games to play – it’s always tough, every game is tough home and away, we know this,” he continued.