Pep Guardiola encouraged by Manchester City's comeback win over Chelsea, but admits Sergio Aguero injury 'doesn't look good'

City rally with a deflected goal from De Bruyne and a Mahrez solo effort after Kante had given visitors lead at the Etihad

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Manager Pep Guardiola praised his defence as Manchester City staged a come-from-behind victory over Chelsea that kept the champions nine points behind Liverpool in the Premier League title race.

With City having lost their previous game at Anfield, victory over an in-form Chelsea, who arrived at the Etihad on the back of a six-game winning streak, was essential if Guardiola's City were to keep Liverpool from pulling further away.

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante had given Frank Lampard's enterprising side the lead but a deflected strike from Kevin de Bruyne and a fine Riyad Mahrez effort put City in front before the break.

"Chelsea are an incredible team, we knew it but we beat them," said Guardiola.

"It was a typical high-level game. Our back four played so good today. In the most difficult period of the game we scored on the counter. We created enough chances to score more goals."

It was a game where Chelsea showed, once again, that they are a team with huge potential but not yet the steel and defensive solidity to compete with the very best.

While City will be relieved to have emerged with the points, Guardiola will be concerned that his team still look substantially short of their top form.

The Catalan made five changes from the loss at Liverpool with, most significantly, keeper Ederson returning from injury.

Chelsea welcomed Jorginho back into their midfield and American winger Christian Pulisic was passed fit despite having struggled with a groin injury.

The visitors started brightly and were well worth their lead midway through the first half.

Mateo Kovacic picked out Kante's forward burst and the French midfielder held off compatriot Benjamin Mendy before smartly slipping the ball past the advancing Ederson.

But six minutes later Belgian midfielder De Bruyne got the champions level when the ball fell to him on the edge of the box and he wrongfooted the defence and unleashed a low drive which took two deflections before rattling past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

For all Chelsea's control on the ball, it was City who went into the break with their noses in front.

Mahrez cut in from the left and, with Chelsea's defence backing off, drove a left-foot shot into the far bottom corner.

Chelsea nearly put themselves out of the game two minutes before the break when Kepa gifted the ball to Sergio Aguero but the Argentine's shot from distance crashed off the bar.

A limping Aguero had to be replaced by Gabriel Jesus in the 77th minute and Guardiola said he appeared to have a muscle injury. "It doesn't look good," Guardiola said, with the former Atletico Madrid striker to undergo a scan on Sunday.

Inevitably there was some VAR controversy before the end, with Raheem Sterling's stoppage-time effort ruled out for what appeared to be a very tight offside call.

The possession stats showed City had just of 46.74 per cent of the ball, the lowest recorded by a side managed by Guardiola in any of his 381 top-flight matches in charge at his three clubs - Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City.

"We were controlling the game, we were playing some great stuff and we felt in control but you can’t be absolutely in control against Manchester City," said Lampard.

"It was bad luck for their first goal, and absolute quality from Riyad Mahrez for the second and that changed the game.

"Maybe we were a bit slow with our movement at the back, I know we were giving them a good game but I am disappointed with the small details."