Pep not panicking after Palace draw Pep Guardiola

LONDON. — Pep Guardiola refused to panic after Manchester City wasted a host of chances in a damaging 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on Monday night that severely dented their bid to retain the English Premier League football title.

Guardiola’s side had 18 shots and 74 per cent of the possession, but left Selhurst Park ruing a series of misses on a significant night in the title race.

Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte were guilty of the most glaring miscues, with Palace keeper Vicente Guaita keeping the leaders at bay with several saves.

With second-placed Liverpool having won at Brighton on Saturday, City are now just four points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s team.

Liverpool can close to within one point of City if they win their game in hand at fourth-placed Arsenal tonight.

But Guardiola showed no signs of losing his cool as he insisted he was happy with City’s performance and their position in the title battle.

“We played a good game and created a lot of chances but couldn’t convert. Sometimes it happens,” he said.

“I would prefer to have won, of course, but the way we played was amazing in a difficult stadium with the grass not perfect.

“There are many games still to play. We have to win a lot but the way we played, no regrets about the team.”

Given Liverpool’s red-hot form, the stalemate in south London could tip the balance of power towards Merseyside.

Liverpool have been so relentless that City need to be perfect to hold them off, and this draw, together with the recent defeat against Tottenham, have left them vulnerable to the Reds’ sustained assault.

“Luck doesn’t exist in football. We have to score goals and we didn’t do it,” Guardiola said.

Manchester City midfielder Silva said his side are “still in a better position than Liverpool” despite drawing with Crystal Palace on Monday.

The result means Liverpool will cut City’s lead to one point if they beat Arsenal away from home tonight.

“We couldn’t score and we should’ve scored,” Silva told Sky Sports.

“Nine games to go, but it’s still better to be in our position than in Liverpool’s and they have to play in our stadium so it’s going to be exciting.”

City have played one game more than Liverpool and the two sides will meet each other at Etihad Stadium in April.

Silva added: “It’s never easy to play at any team away in the Premier League. It’s always better to win than draw and we wanted to have an advantage of six points over Liverpool.”

Eight weeks ago, Manchester City’s lead at the top of the Premier League was 13 points – although Liverpool, in third at the time, had two games in hand.

After this draw in south London, the gap is now four points.

“We never had 13 points, (Liverpool) had two games in hand,” Silva added to BBC Radio 5 Live. — AFP

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