Pep Guardiola pinpoints blame for Manchester City’s shock draw at Nottingham Forest

Erling Haaland reacts to a missed opportunity against Forest  (Reuters)
Erling Haaland reacts to a missed opportunity against Forest (Reuters)

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says his side only have themselves to blame after they dropped crucial points in the Premier League title race at Nottingham Forest.

City looked prime to return to the top of the table after Arsenal’s lunchtime win over Aston Villa when they went ahead through Bernardo Silva’s first-half stunner.

But a string of missed chances after the break, including two from Erling Haaland, proved costly and Chris Wood’s first goal for Forest in the 83rd minute saw them take a point.

The draw, which should have been off the table for the hosts, means the Gunners now hold a two-point lead over City at the top of the table with a game in hand.

“It was a brilliant performance, we played really good but we didn’t score,” Guardiola said. “At this level you have to score and that is why we dropped points.

“The first half should already be 2-0 or 3-0, we conceded one shot on target and we dropped points. We are sad and disappointed but the way we played was really good.

“We missed the chances we missed because today was not our day to win the game.

“We missed goals that were one metre to the goalkeeper, not just one, a few. That is why we didn’t win. What can I say?

“We played a really good game. We missed the second goal and then after the second the third would have arrived. We have to look at ourselves, we can do better.

“Today we missed too many chances. It happens in football. Today we were much better than the opponent but we have to score goals. We didn’t do it so we have to blame ourselves.”

Guardiola picked up a yellow card for his furious reaction to Graham Scott’s decision not to award a foul – and likely red card – when Haaland went down under a challenge from Joe Worrall when through on goal.

“We don’t make any excuses. I could say many things that have happened this season,” he said. “I am not a guy who is here to talk about things we cannot control.

“I don’t know, it looks like the last man (Haaland) went to the keeper and fell down. Why would you fall down when you are one against one to the keeper.

“I was complaining to the fourth official, why would Haaland stop when he was one-on-one to score a goal and after that I got a well deserved yellow card.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (Bradley Collyer/PA) (PA Wire)
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (Bradley Collyer/PA) (PA Wire)

Forest’s point was reward for staying in the game and it proved important on a day when Everton, Southampton and Bournemouth all won at the foot of the table.

Boss Steve Cooper, who said City are the “best team in the world”, believes Silva’s goal should have been ruled out for a kick in the face for Worrall in the build-up.

“I was disappointed with the goal, but I am really disappointed with VAR, Joe Worrall was kicked in the head,” he said. “For me it is a clear foul anywhere else on the pitch. They have to pick up on that.

“I am not denying they didn’t have the ball and chances, but VAR has let the referee down there, I am not sure who it was.

“Of all weekends they needed a good one and it is another talking point for them. We are disappointed with that.”

On his side’s performance, he added: “We knew the game was going to look like it did, we planned for it to look the way it did.

“You don’t say it before the game but you are playing against an incredible team, for me they are the best team in the world at domestic level, you have to sacrifice the ideals in the game to try and get something out of it.

“That is how it was, we put a plan in place to stay in the game as long as we could. They had loads of the ball and territory but we defended well. We managed to stay in the game and got the equaliser. We have to be satisfied.

“It is a positive result and one that will hopefully help.”