Berliner Tageblatt - Guardiola takes the blame as Man City blow history bid in FA Cup final

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Guardiola takes the blame as Man City blow history bid in FA Cup final
Guardiola takes the blame as Man City blow history bid in FA Cup final / Photo: © AFP

Guardiola takes the blame as Man City blow history bid in FA Cup final

Pep Guardiola took the blame for Manchester City's shock 2-1 defeat against Manchester United in the FA Cup final as the boss admitted his game-plan backfired on Saturday.

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Guardiola's side failed to become the first team to win the Premier League and FA Cup in the same season for two successive years after a surprisingly tame performance at Wembley.

City were well below the standards they showed during their blistering march to an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League title.

Rocked by first half goals from United teenagers Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo, City could only get one back after the interval through Jeremy Doku's late strike.

City looked lethargic for long periods, but Guardiola said it was his tactical plan that was at fault rather than a post-title hangover.

"My game plan was not good. We were not in the right positions to attack them. It was my decision," he said.

"The players were focused. Tactically, it was not good. The players know it.

"It was a tight game, we gave away the first goal and the second we didn't close well enough.

"The second half was much better because we were more intense. We had the chances, unfortunately we scored a little bit late."

Guardiola conceded it was a frustrating way to end another memorable season for City, who have won the Premier League six times in the last seven years.

The Spaniard and his players will hold a title parade in Manchester on Sunday despite their Wembley woe and Guardiola wants them to enjoy the occasion.

"Congratulations to Manchester United. They are always a transition team. At the end they scored two goals and we couldn't score more," he said.

"It's disappointing, that's normal in a final but this season has been extraordinary, fighting for all the titles.

"Now we are sad but tomorrow we celebrate the incredible achievements we have done. Then we come back next season.

"We celebrated this week. When you get 91 points, it's because you win a lot of games. We have to be incredibly proud."

United's first FA Cup triumph in eight years could be the last time Erik ten Hag takes charge of City's neighbours amid reports he faces the sack regardless of the victory.

Guardiola paid tribute to Ten Hag, who has won two trophies in two years but oversaw United's lowest Premier League finish since 1990 this term.

"They had to take a decision, so I don't know. He's a lovely person, an extraordinary manager," Guardiola said.

"Of course winning the FA Cup is important to them."

L.Dubois--BTB