Pep Guardiola defends Manchester City tactics in Tottenham defeat

It's a massive European night for Porto Liverpool Tottenham and Manchester City.                     Image PA

In a much tighter title race this season, with City just behind Liverpool, the Eagles' 3-2 win at the Etihad in December could yet be the game that costs Guardiola's men.

Since then? Full matches merely versus Cardiff, Schalke and Newport.

"With Pep Guardiola, we are witnessing an incredible title race, the two teams play the right way, the managers perform the right way, and I have to say, from our point of view, it is brilliant to watch, even though it is painful for me".

The City midfielder told reporters that he and his teammates were "not courageous enough" after City's 1-0 defeat in the Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday.

Meanwhile for Man City, Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane could inject some freshness back into the squad after sitting out the past couple of games.

Guardiola, 48, said: "You have to have a special energy and I think at 71 - except Roy Hodgson - the others can not do it".

"We made a decision to play a different type of game but, in general, the game was really, really good". We did it quite well.

"We hope that we can keep going and winning games, helping us to achieve the things that we want. After the penalty, Sergio reacted incredibly well and was mentally strong and the team was stable". Unfortunately we could not score a goal, but we have a second leg at home. "We know what we are playing for and we are going to prepare well", added Guardiola.

"They are really well organised, and up front, they have quality players". The way Liverpool have performed this season, this would be a far bigger achievement this year to win the league, than last year.

In contrast, Crystal Palace are now 12th in Premier League standings and will hoping to cement their position in the middle of the table with a vital home victory today.

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