Pep Guardiola refused to blame Raheem Sterling for Manchester City’s failure to beat Burnley.
After Danilo had put City ahead at Turf Moor on Saturday lunchtime, Sterling missed a glaring chance to double the visitors’ lead when he missed an open goal from just a few yards out.
The Clarets went on to snatch an equaliser against the Premier League leaders through Johann Berg Gudmundsson – full report here.
“It is football,” said City boss Guardiola of Sterling’s howler.
“Next day he is going to score a goal. Raheem scored against Southampton in the 96th minute. Today he missed one chance. That can happen.”
Sterling, who has scored 19 goals this season, was substituted soon after his miss, but Guardiola said the two events were not connected.
“No, I didn’t do that for that reason,” said the Spaniard.
Another talking point was Guardiola’s decision to name only six substitutes.
Gary Neville blasts Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola as a ‘joke’ for naming just six subs against Burnley
With John Stones and David Silva this week joining Fabian Delph, Benjamin Mendy, Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane on the sidelines, City were short on numbers. Even youngster Lukas Nmecha, recently added to the first-team squad as cover, was unavailable.
Guardiola said: “We didn’t have any more players. They are injured. I would like to have 18 players, but we had 17. I could have called one of the second team, but we decided they were not going to play.”
Guardiola confirmed that Stones, who was ill in midweek, was out with a minor knee injury.
Despite the result, Guardiola was nevertheless pleased with the performance against a tough opponent.
He said: “Of course we are sad for the dropped two points, but to come here and play the way we played is almost impossible. We controlled the long balls and we made an amazing build-up. Doing it in Burnley it is so complicated.
“What we have done today is – wow – one of the best performances we have done this season by far. We controlled many situations. That is why I am optimistic.”