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Pep Guardola insists he didn’t underestimate Newcastle United and that Manchester City are still in there fighting for this title…

11 months ago
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Tuesday night was the 100th Premier League match for Pep Guardiola.

His record read Played 99 Won 73 Drawn 15 Lost 11.

Beating Newcastle United would have meant 74 victories in Pep’s opening 100 PL games, a new record, beating the 73 wins Jose Mourino achieved at Chelsea in his opening 100 PL matches.

Pep Guardiola insists he didn’t underestimate Newcastle United but just maybe scoring so quickly and simply after only 24 seconds is enough to bring complacency to even the best teams.

That is why it was so important Rafa’s players held it together after such a shocking start, if a second goal had followed then you would have feared the worst against a team that had scored 29 goals in their previous six games without conceding.

Despite being put together on such a low budget, the mental side of the game is not something you can accuse this Newcastle team of lacking.

The spine of the team especially, was magnificent, with Sean Longstaff superbly rising to the occasion.

Longstaff hadn’t even started a Premier League match until 18 days ago.

Pep Guardiola on the other hand is clearly concerned about the potential mental frailty of his players though, declaring after the defeat: ‘I love these players and they have given me all the prestige I have in England. I will try to be here to help them. I know how they feel right now and I am beside them…close to them.’

He is a great manager though of course and no doubt Man City will win a lot more than they lose or draw in these next few months.

The story post-match was always going to be more about Man City losing, rather than Newcastle winning.

As Newcastle fans we can live with that!

Pep Guardiola asked if he’d underestimated Newcastle United:

“Never.

“We are in four competitions because we never underestimate one competition or team, never.

“We have done 100 points because you never underestimate one team.

“If you don’t, you are not in the final of the Carabao Cup.

“I love these players and they have given me all the prestige I have in England.

“I will try to be here to help them.

“I know how they feel right now and I am beside them…close to them.

“It is an incredible group of players, group of guys.

“Sometimes we don’t play at the level we want to play, sometimes that happens.

“We did not play like we normally do.

“We scored an early goal and created chances early in the second half but couldn’t score a second and then they equalised.

“We are in January and there’s still a lot of time (to compete for the title).

“But of course, when you are behind the leader, you don’t have to drop points because you help them and of course, every game is one less.

“But we are in January, so we do have a lot of titles and games still to play.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Manchester City 1

Goals:

Newcastle United: Rondon 66, Ritchie 80 (pen)

Man City: Aguero 1

Possession was Man City 76% Newcastle 24%

Total shots were  Man City 12 Newcastle 6

Shots on target were Man City 4 Newcastle 2

Corners were  Man City 8 Newcastle 1

Referee: Paul Tierney

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie, Hayden, Longstaff, Atsu (Kenedy 87), Perez (Manquillo 90+1), Rondon

Unused Subs:

Woodman, Roberts, Clark, Murphy, Fernandez

Crowd: 50,861 (Man City 3,000)

(A must see – Watch Alan Shearer’s reaction when the winner goes in HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Newcastle 2 Man City 1 – Read HERE)

(Great quotes from Rafa Benitez after beating Manchester City – Read HERE)

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