The Catalan’s team has slipped 11 points behind leaders Liverpool but he says they believe they can make the ground up
Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City players are not lacking for either confidence or effort even though their Premier League title defence continues to falter.
City were twice pegged back during Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Newcastle United, leaving them third in the table and 11 points behind leaders Liverpool after 14 games.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have only dropped two points so far this term to establish their dominant position, but Guardiola rejected the suggestion that belief is fading among his own squad ahead of a Tuesday trip to Burnley that precedes the Manchester derby.
“I think honestly you have to see how the players run, how they fought, how they tried to do it, the body language,” he said, after Jonjo Shelvey’s superb long-range effort had cancelled out a similarly emphatic Kevin De Bruyne strike two minutes from time at St James’ Park.
“We never give up. The team is always there. That is my feeling. You analyse the results, the 2-2. Of course, it is not good for us. It’s good for Newcastle.
“I know it doesn’t count but I have to analyse the performance and the performance was good.”
City set a Premier League record of 18 victories in a row when they lifted the title in 2017-18, while they needed 14 wins in succession to hold off Liverpool last time around.
Whether or not such heroics are beyond them this season, Guardiola does not think it is helpful to think in those terms.
“I am not thinking about how many games we have to win, just try to win the next one,” he added.
“Last season when we were here, we were not talking about the Premier League and how many games you have to win.
“It’s not about that. Just now recover, prepare and try to win against Burnley. After that the derby and make these steps.”
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City won the domestic treble last season and must see off Oxford United in the quarter-finals later in December to maintain any chance of doing so again this season.
They’ve alreasdy made it out of their Champions League group.