Pep Guardiola bemoaned Manchester City’s lack of precision as they were held to a 1-1 Premier League draw by Aston Villa on Saturday.
City looked to be heading to the top of the table when Erling Haaland prodded home from close range five minutes into the second half.
The former Borussia Dortmund striker has now scored 10 goals in his first six Premier League games – the joint-fastest a player has reached that total, along with Mick Quinn in December 1992.
He is also just the fifth player to score in each of their first three away appearances in the Premier League, after Peter Beardsley, Jurgen Klinsmann, Francesco Baiano and Alen Boksic.
However, Leon Bailey’s first Premier League goal since September 2021 ensured the spoils were shared, as the Jamaica international powered home with 16 minutes remaining.
City squandered a host of opportunities to extend their advantage after Haaland’s opener, leaving Guardiola to rue his side’s sloppiness.
“It was a good game. We conceded just one goal from one shot on target in 90 minutes,” he told Sky Sports.
“We were not precise in our final third touches and our simple things, especially in the first half. We had chances to score a second when the game was in our hands, but we didn’t.
“We were better after the goal, but we were just not precise enough in the crosses; we missed a few situations and that’s why we could not score.
“They [Villa] defended well, they are well organised and physical. We created enough chances to score goals and we defended well apart from one action.”
Villa now have four points from their first six Premier League games of the season (W1 D1 L4), their joint-lowest total at this stage in the competition, along with 2015-16 and 2019-20.
Boss Steven Gerrard, though, believes his side’s display can act as a turning point in their season.
“We’ve been close to that performance but the moments have gone against us, they have been kinder to us today but that’s got to be the start of us,” he said. “We have to use this and grow our results.
“I’m proud; the players have come together today. They put an incredible amount of effort into the game and followed instructions.
“City are always going to have moments and we had to ride our luck. This is what we wanted out of the game and this is the game plan we gave them.
“We praised the players after the first half for out of possession stuff, but said we need to be more aggressive on the regain and believe in ourselves more. Our players didn’t sink after City scored and I was really happy with the response and the body language.”
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