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Pep Guardiola: Manchester City boss stands by players despite defensive errors

Norwich are a really good team – Guardiola

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola refused to criticise any of his players despite defensive mistakes playing a part in the Premier League champions’ surprise 3-2 defeat at Norwich.

The Canaries raced into a two-goal lead but a goal from Sergio Aguero just before the break kept City in the game.

A Nicolas Otamendi error then allowed Teemu Pukki to make it 3-1 and a late Rodri reply was not enough for City.

“Not for one second am I going to doubt my players,” said Guardiola.

“Sometimes you know we make mistakes. I think sometimes we forget these guys are human.

“Football is quick, things can go wrong and I must see what I can do to help them.”

Manchester City were dealt a blow just before the international break when defender Aymeric Laporte injured his knee against Brighton and will be on the sidelines for six months.

It meant John Stones partnered Otamendi in the centre of defence against Norwich and the pair looked nervous throughout.

They have featured together just four times in City’s Past 57 games but Guardiola insisted he has no concerns about playing them together.

City’s centre-backs since Laporte joined (Premier League only)
Who played? Games started together
Laporte & Otamendi 16
Laporte & Stones 15
Laporte & Kompany 11
Otamendi & Kompany 6
Stones & Otamendi 4
Stones & Kompany 2
Laporte & Stones & Kompany 1
Fernandinho & Otamendi 1
Laporte & Otamendi & Kompany 1

“They play together a lot,” he added.

“They are the central defenders we have – we don’t have more. It’s not a worry.”

The defeat means Manchester City are second in the Premier League, five points behind leaders Liverpool.

“Five points is five points – but we are in September,” Guardiola said.

“What are we supposed to do? Say ‘it’s September and congratulations to Liverpool, you champions?'”

It’s a special day to beat Man City – Farke

The win for Norwich was even more impressive considering they had eight players out through injury and two goalkeepers on the bench to make up the numbers.

The Championship winners, who are 12th with six points from five games, have been praised for the bold, attacking style of football they have played since returning to the Premier League.

“It was a win for our key people,” said Norwich boss Daniel Farke, who is keeping his celebrations of a big win low key.

“It is a night to remember without any doubt.

“I will be happy when I’m back on the sofa. I’m too old and too exhausted to celebrate and we have training in the morning.

“After that I will be on the sofa with coffee and maybe some cake. That is how I celebrate.”