Pep Guardiola praises Man City intensity in Brighton draw - 48 hours after title party

Premier League champions held to 1-1 draw by Brighton, who cap fine season with place in Europa League

Pep Guardiola with Julian Alvarez after Manchester City's Premier League draw against Brighton. AP
Powered by automated translation

Pep Guardiola praised his Manchester City players for playing with intensity in the 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday night, just 48 hours after some late-night parties to celebrate becoming Premier League champions.

For the first time since February, City failed to win a league game as a stunning goal by Brighton's Paraguayan teenager Julio Enciso snapped their 12-game winning run.

Erling Haaland, who set up Phil Foden's opener, had a late goal disallowed, resulting in a yellow card for Guardiola.

City have one more league game left before an FA Cup final against Manchester United and then a Champions League final against Inter Milan.

Victories in both will see City match Manchester United's treble, so Guardiola's side might have been excused taking their foot off the gas having won a fifth title in six seasons at the weekend. That they did not win, however, was more to do with an excellent Brighton side who sealed a Europa League spot.

"Exceptional game. Congratulations to Brighton for their deserved qualification to the Europa League," Guardiola told Sky Sports. "The game we played, 48 hours after [the title celebrations], 48 hours later we behaved and we showed why we were the champions against that team.

"We showed what we have done with and without the ball. I didn't see one drop in our intensity and idea. They had chances, we had chances, we scored a goal, they scored a goal.

"Both teams want the ball, both teams want to press. The keepers are fundamental in this game. The quality (Brighton) have, they are an exceptional team."

Guardiola shared some jokes during the game with Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi and warmly congratulated the home players. But he was angry that Haaland's goal was disallowed for shirt-pulling.

"Watch it. Watch it, if it's a fault, every action for Erling is a fault," he said of his 52-goal striker.

Brighton v Man City player ratings

Guardiola said his side cannot afford to lose any momentum as they seek to make history.

"I didn't see it, against Chelsea I didn't see it today. During the week we have to rest, recover mentally," he said.

"It's been demanding for the past six months playing Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, chasing Arsenal. The training now is just relaxed."

Brighton's point means they can make plans for the Europa League, the club's first European venture.

“It’s a fantastic goal, we achieved an incredible target,” De Zerbi said. “Man City is the best team in the world. For us it was a very tough game. We deserve the point. We deserve the Europa League.”

Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele echoed his manager's comments, saying: "What an achievement, what a club, what a group of guys. The togetherness, the culture and we are driven in by a top, top manager. Special times."

Updated: May 25, 2023, 4:21 AM