Pep Guardiola played down worries over Aymeric Laporte’s lack after Norwich took full advantage of defensive frailties to beat Manchester City 3-2 at Carrow Road.??
With no injured Laporte, who’s out before the new year after knee surgery, the City back-line weren’t up to scratch as the Canaries conducted out shock winners, live on Saturday Night Football.
Before Sergio Aguero pulled a goal back on the stroke of 25, goals from Todd Cantwell and Kenny McLean had the side deservedly.
However, together with Kevin De Bruyne surprisingly just called a substitute, the much-anticipated comeback never materialised because Teemu Pukki inserted a third following awful protecting from Nicolas Otamendi.
A late strike from Rodri was little consolation for the people, who suffered their first defeat of the year to give a five-point lead at the summit to Liverpool.
John Stones and also Otamendi just began three times but Guardiola dismissed suggestions his side have a weakness.
The Catalan told Sky Sports:”It is a partnership that has played a lot. We have got Fernandinho and Rodri who can play there in different conditions and it is not a worry. Things happen.
“We didn’t expect the injury and in more than three years collectively John and Nicolas have performed together, and thanks to those we’ve won.
“Laporte is wounded and Kompany is now in Anderlecht, and so we can’t simply analyse off it one match. We need to improve on that and hopefully we can do better.”
Having hauled back the shortage, Otamendi and Stones lived one mix-up since Pukki hurried onto a ball to skew his shot wide – but moments after the striker made amends.
Stones gathered the ball to Otamendi since the dallied and on the edge of the box, put on the sixth goal of the campaign of Pukki and Emiliano Buendia nipped in to steal possession.
Guardiola slumped to his knees following the blow off, but bullishly added:”I know what we are as a group, I understand what we’ve achieved and that I know what we will do again.
“I really like my gamers, it’s a pleasure and an honour to be with them, but it’s a struggle at the highest degree. We cannot expect to win every single time and also to reach 90 points within.
“We’re going to have to recover, we visit Europe now, and then we’ll return.
“We understood the quality of Norwich and we have had a great deal of days to work with it. Conceding aims is a part of soccer, and in the end we pushed a lot, but I must congratulate Norwich.”
Jamie Redknapp told Sky Sports:”The Laporte absence is the story at the moment, make no mistake about it. I felt that in the summer, after dropping Vincent Kompany they needed to recruit.
“Matthijs De Ligt moved to Juventus and he had the profile of what Town like to buy, Harry Maguire moved to Man Utd and it was unusual for them because their recruitment is usually spot on.
“You can not foresee an accident such as Laporte’s when he is out for six weeks, but you have to be ready for every eventuality. At the moment, it’s looking as though it could cost them”
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