Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola has refused to criticise his players for their performance in Saturday's surprise loss to Norwich City. The Spanish manager insists that the days result does not any reason for panic considering the charge for the Premier League title is far from over.
Norwich City denied the reigning champions the opportunity to clinch a routine win by scoring twice through Kenny McLean and Todd Cantwell in the 18th and 28th minutes respectively. On the brink of half-time Sergio Aguero pulled one back for the Citizens but the optimism offered for a comeback could not be sustained with Teemu Pukki restoring the two-goal margin five minutes after proceedings resumed.
An 88th-minute strike by Rodrigo reduced the deficit to one again but proved to be the last major action as Manchester City slumped to its first defeat in the league since January. Nonetheless, head coach of the side Pep Guardiola has jumped to the defense of his players while acknowledging that the season is not over yet.
"Big congratulations for Norwich on how well they have done," Guardiola said in his post-match presser.
"We didn't concede too much in terms of chances, Bournemouth had more chances against us. But in the end we weren't strong enough in either box. We learn from that.
"We knew the quality of Norwich because they destroyed the Championship last season. They have the confidence to play. In some moments we didn't play quite well. We had chances to equalise in the game but in the end congratulations to them.
"Five points [behind Liverpool] is five points but we are in September," he added.
"What are we supposed to do? Say: 'It's September and congratulations to Liverpool you are champions'? Not for one second am I going to doubt my players."
Despite the defeat, Manchester City still remains second on the table and will host Watford at home in its next Premier League outing.