Pep Guardiola is desperate to get to the bottom of Manchester City’s downturn in form, and left his players locked in the dressing room for around 50 minutes after Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Southampton trying to get answers.
Following an emphatic start to the campaign with 10 wins, City has since gone winless in its last five matches – three draws and two losses – and the inability to take three points from the Saints left Pep peeved.
“We had problems creating our build-up. There is a difference between the first and second half. Unfortunately, we could not win,” he said post-match. “In the second half, we tried. There was chances and nothing else. We didn’t create too much but we were there.”
He added: “We are going to accept the situation. We are together. We spoke about the situation we have. We try to go up.
“You can win ten times and then you are not able to win five times. I have to discover the reason why and I am going to find that.”
City went top with the result due to a slightly better goal difference than second-placed Arsenal, but some individual errors – like John Stones’ misplaced backpass for Nathan Redmond’s opener – and a lack of intensity going forward have seen Guardiola’s throng give up what could’ve been a considerable cushion at the top by now.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss refused to be drawn into calling out his players for mistakes, however, and would instead prefer to see City appear personally affronted when things don’t go its way, and then react.
“Mistakes are not the reason – not (Aleksandar) Kolarov’s own goal at Spurs or missed penalties. There is something about how you react in situations,” he continued.
“We will see tomorrow after the players’ recovery, and we will decide whether it is good to make rotations (for United game).”
Wednesday’s League Cup bout with its archrival will be the second time the Manchester clubs have met this season, after City topped United by a 2-1 scoreline at Old Trafford in September.