Guardiola refuses to dwell on derby defeat and calls on Man City to 'focus on Spurs'

City manager believes Bruno Fernandes' goal should not have stood in the 2-1 Premier League loss at Old Trafford

Pep Guardiola confronts referee Stuart Attwell and the assistant referee after Manchester City's defeat to Manchester United. PA
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Pep Guardiola believes Manchester United's equalising goal in Saturday's derby should not have stood but urged his Manchester City players to not dwell on the defeat and instead focus on the upcoming match against Tottenham.

City's Premier League title defence suffered a setback at Old Trafford with a 2-1 defeat to rivals United, Jack Grealish's second-half opener cancelled out by Bruno Fernandes' contentious equaliser before Marcus Rashford tapped in the winner for United.

The result hands Arsenal an opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points when they face North London rivals Tottenham on Sunday, while United have moved to within one point of City.

The big talking point from the match was Fernandes' goal, which was initially ruled out for offside on Rashford, but VAR deemed the England forward was not interfering with play and the decision was overturned and the goal awarded.

"Rashford is offside. Bruno Fernandes is not offside," Guardiola said. "The question is intervening or not intervening in the action. When one player shoots and [another] player is in front of the keeper and does not touch the ball, it's disallowed all the time.

"The decision is of course the referee's and VAR. We follow the action, we don't make an offside [appeal], we follow the action and after the action, it's either Ederson intervenes or not."

Despite his disappointment, Guardiola said it was vital his team shifted their focus to Thursday's game against Tottenham.

“I said to the players – don’t waste energy thinking what happened. Focus on Spurs," he said. “I would not say we win or lose for this action [the first goal]. Of course, it was involved – an important one.

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“But wasting energy thinking about what happened in the past, you are in the next game. The best thing to do is analyse the things we have done good, what we can improve and then focus on Spurs. Now it is done. It is gone.”

Defender Manuel Akanji echoed his manager's thoughts and called on City to bounce back against Spurs.

"We played really well. The second half was better than the first half," the Switzerland international said. "We did some changes and we dominated then we deservedly scored the first goal.

"After 1-1, we've got to be clear in the head, and defend for a couple of minutes and just calm down and then attack again. We didn't do it well today. I hope we can improve on that in the next game."

Updated: January 15, 2023, 5:26 AM