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‘I didn’t expect to have this lead’ – Pep Guardiola not worried by Manchester City draw as Aymeric Laporte shows injury


Pep Guardiola has praised the performance of his Manchester City side in the draw with Southampton, and feels the point will focus minds at Eastlands.

City went into the game with many suggesting the title race was over, as Guardiola’s side held an 11-point lead.

The 1-1 draw stretches the advantage to 12, but Liverpool have two games in hand – which gives the Reds a squeak.

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Guardiola was not disappointed with the draw, and feels his players will return from their short break with sharpened minds.

“We played really well,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “Unfortunately, in the first half we conceded a goal, but I think this was one of our best performances of the season, by far.

“We played better than in the Arsenal game, when we won, and today we drew. Sometimes you deserve it and you don’t win, but the way we played here was excellent.

“Why should we lose belief in what we have done? It was a good performance. We are going to drop points, but the way we behave is very good.

“We have two weeks to prepare for the next game. People will say the Premier League race is not over and that is good for this side. We have many tough games ahead of us, but we will try to behave until the end.

“I would like to have a 40-point lead ahead of Liverpool, but that is not possible in January. I didn’t expect to have this lead, but now we will rest and come back as best as possible.”

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There were a number of talking points at St Mary’s, with VAR being quite busy.

One check was for a foul by Stuart Armstrong on Aymeric Laporte. Referee Simon Hooper gave a yellow card, and VAR backed that decision after a lengthy check.

Armstrong was late and his boot was high, but there did not appear to be any malice. But it left a mark, as Laporte showed:

Laporte will now have a fortnight off before City face Fulham in the FA Cup.

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