Pep Guardiola remains optimistic about Manchester City’s performances despite Demarai Gray’s stunning equaliser denting the champions’ title hopes on New Year’s Eve.
Gray picked out the top-right corner with Everton’s first shot of the game after 64 minutes at the Etihad Stadium, cancelling out Erling Haaland’s opener in a stop-start 1-1 draw.
Having lost to Brentford before the World Cup, City have now failed to win in back-to-back home league games for the first time since May 2021 and remain without a Premier League victory on December 31 (D4 L1).
While City’s dropped points handed Arsenal the initiative in an intriguing battle at the top of the table, Guardiola saw no reason to criticise his team’s performance.
“Great game. We’ve played really well in the last three games and it makes me feel optimistic,” he told BBC Sport.
“Dropping points at home is always tough, but I’m always trying to make our game good, and we have continued to do it.
“I would say they had eight at the back. In that situation, it’s about movement and attacking at the right moment. In general we did it. We didn’t allow them transitions.
“They made a fantastic goal and when that happens you say congratulations, but in general we did really well.”
Manchester City 1-1 Everton
Manchester City have failed to win back-to-back home league games for the first time since May 2021, when they lost against Leeds and Chelsea.
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst)
However, defender John Stones was less positive, bemoaning City’s failure to find a second goal against a resilient Everton side.
“I don’t really know what to say. I feel like we’ve lost two points,” the former Toffees centre-back said. “That’s football.
“We controlled the game for the majority of the time and had a lot of chances, but we couldn’t seem to get that goal.
“It’s difficult to take after the game. We showed great character to keep fighting and pushing. It was a bit of a scrappy game.
“We conceded two shots all game, but it’s overlooked because of that incredible goal. On reflection, we’ll be more positive when we look back, I’m sure.”