Guardiola: Missed chances, not refereeing, cost us victory
Leroy Sane 49
|Dele Alli 58
Son Heungmin 77
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said his team's lack of finishing, and not a contentious refereeing decision, resulted in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday morning (Singapore time).
City were 2-1 up at the Etihad Stadium when Raheem Sterling appeared to be shoved in the back by Spurs' Kyle Walker in the visitors' penalty box in the second half.
Referee Andre Marriner waved away penalty appeals by City players, and the Lilywhites' Son Heungmin scored the equaliser after that incident, in the 77th minute.
Former Barcelona manager Guardiola said: "We lost because we missed a lot of chances. When that happens, the influence of the referee is higher. When you score a goal, the referee doesn't matter.
"In my career, the referee doesn't matter. But the rules here are the rules so maybe (referees' chief) Mike Riley one day is going to explain to me when it's a push here or here or here.
"Still I don't understand. But again, we lost because we missed chances. When we don't miss a lot of chances, the referee doesn't matter."
Walker conceded that he had been guilty of a push on his England colleague Sterling.
He said: "I wasn't going to get (the ball) otherwise. You have to put him off as much as possible."
But Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino countered that City's first goal should have been disallowed for handball by Leroy Sane, who blocked a headed clearance by Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris before tapping into an empty net.
"The first goal we conceded was handball," said Pochettino, who saw his side's seven-game winning run come to an end.
"We can't start to see every single detail. In England it's different. It wasn't a penalty. From my side, there's no complaint from me about the referee."
While the match was goalless at half-time, Spurs were 2-0 down within nine minutes of the restart.
Flying out to meet Kevin de Bruyne's 50-yard pass on the edge of his box in the 49th minute, Lloris contrived to head the ball against Sane, who had the simple task of tapping into an empty net.
If fortune deserted Lloris on that occasion, he only had himself to blame five minutes later as his failure to gather Sterling's cross from the right allowed De Bruyne to bundle in City's second.
It was no more than the hosts deserved, but just four minutes later Spurs hit back, Dele Alli heading in Walker's superb right-wing cross for his eighth goal in seven games.
Son's late equaliser ensured that the Londoners left Manchester with a "massive" point.
Pochettino said: "It is true, they were better in the first half and maybe deserved more, it was lucky for us to be 0-0 but in the second half the game was more balanced.
"We conceded two and it was difficult to come back but they always believed, that is important. "It's a massive point for us.
"City were better but football is sometimes about belief."
- Wire sources