Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Guardiola concedes title after heavy loss

Published:Monday | January 16, 2017 | 1:00 AM
Guardiola

MANCHESTER, England (AP):

The Premier League season is barely past the halfway point and already Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has virtually given up on winning the title.

The world's most coveted coach can't have envisaged his first year in English football being this tough.

It takes something special to overshadow a match between bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool, but City's 4-0 loss at Everton yesterday did just that.

As he slumped to the heaviest loss of his career in a domestic league match, Guardiola - with his arms folded - was seen staring into space, while he sat in the Goodison Park dug-out. At other times, he had his face in his hands.

City have dropped out of the Champions League positions, into fifth place, and 10 points adrift of leaders Chelsea.

Asked if the gap to first place was now too great, Guardiola said: "(To) the first one? Yes. Ten points is a lot of points. The second one is three points. We have to see."

A fifth loss of the league season was administered by a team managed by Guardiola's friend and former Barcelona teammate, Ronald Koeman.

"Pep Guardiola knows it is a project at Manchester City," Koeman said. "Of course, maybe they expected better results and a defeat like this is really strong but Pep has the experience to turn it around."

Man United kicked off less than an hour after City's drubbing but couldn't get a win that would have put the neighbours tied on points, drawing 1-1 with Liverpool at Old Trafford.

After 21 of 38 games, City and United - the two pre-season title favourites - are outside the top four. Two high-profile managers were always going to have their reputation tarnished this season, with six big teams challenging for four Champions League spots.

Few would have predicted they'd be Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.