Guardiola slams defence after 2-2 draw with Palace, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Guardiola slams defence after 2-2 draw with Palace

Pep Guardiola criticised his Manchester City defence after they allowed Wilfried Zaha too much space in setting up Crystal Palace's late equaliser in their 2-2 English Premier League draw on Saturday.

Two goals in the final eight minutes from Sergio Aguero appeared to have secured all three points for Guardiola's side until Zaha took control.

The Palace forward was sent racing clear by James McCarthy and his cross was turned into his own goal by Fernandinho.

It left Guardiola bemoaning his side's poor defending as they struggled for the second successive season at home to Roy Hodgson's team, who came away with a 3-2 win last term.

The draw leaves the champions, who have kept just two clean sheets in their last 13 games, 13 points behind leaders Liverpool, ahead of their clash with Manchester United this morning (Singapore time).

"Last season, when they beat us here, it was the same. They had three shots on target, they scored three. This season, the same," said Guardiola.

"The goal, we have to avoid it, we just can't allow Zaha to run. It was a decision, the concentration was there, but it was a wrong decision.

"We're going to solve it and improve it because in that situation, we have to have the back four there and not let them run on the counter-attack."

Former Arsenal star Ian Wright faulted John Stones for both the goals City conceded.

The England defender was outjumped by Gary Cahill before Cenk Tosun netted the game's opening goal.

"They switched off for a couple of seconds and they got punished," the BBC's Match of the Day pundit Wright said.

"Look at Cahill, the best header in the Palace side and nobody is picking him up.

"It looks like Tosun gets a free header but when you look, Bernardo Silva has got him. However, he and Ilkay Guendogan leave him, they're both ball watching.

"For the second goal, Stones has to engage. He has to go and stop him (Zaha).

"Zaha in that position will always cause you problems, he doesn't get anywhere near him and it goes in off Fernandinho.

"Stones has to go to him, he is running away from him and, when there is a ball coming at you at that pace, it's hard to sort your feet out."

Aguero's brace took his career tally for the club to 251 goals since his arrival in 2011.

The latest setback has left another City player hinting that the league title is beyond them.

Said left-back Benjamin Mendy: "Liverpool have done very, very well... we will just keep focusing on us. We don't have the answer for what has happened, but every player tries to give everything for the team."