Published time: 20 Apr, 2019 15:33 Edited time: 20 Apr, 2019 15:43
Pep Guardiola paid tribute to his Manchester City players after they bounced back from UEFA Champions League heartbreak against Tottenham to beat them 1-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.
Guardiola's City side were left with their morale in tatters after what they thought was a last-gasp tie-winning goal by Raheem Sterling was ruled out for offside by VAR.
But the Spanish City boss saw his side bounce back as a fifth-minute diving header from Phil Foden gave the Sky Blues a crucial 1-0 victory to send them back to the top of the Premier League table.
"I told my players that if they had forgotten what happened it’s good but if it still hurts then it’s good," he said.
Unlike the midweek Champions League goal-fest at the Etihad Stadium, the Premier League match at the same venue on Saturday was much more defensive, with chances at a premium.Also on rt.com Spurs knock out Man City on away goals after seven-goal Champions League thriller
And looking back on the match, Guardiola said the overall display was not as impressive as the one City produced in midweek, but it was nonetheless effective as City kept pace with title rivals Liverpool at the top of the table.
"Both teams have incredible players with heart and personality. It was a real tough game after our mental defeat on Wednesday," said the Spaniard.
"It was our not best performance, compared to the other day but today they (Spurs) had nothing to lose and we played to (not) lose the Premier League and after our defeat last Wednesday it was really tough the last two days."
City's victory puts them one point clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League, with both sides facing four remaining matches before the end of the season.
And Guardiola said he was proud of his players, regardless of whether they are ultimately successful in their title challenge.
"Even if we don’t do it, we’ve been on a remarkable run; every day with this club and these players. It doesn’t matter what happens next; we’ll fight until the end - we’ll see how far we get.
"Twenty-four months doing that, when you have 100 points and 86 now... after what we have done last season, being in the final of the FA Cup, the team was incredible this season and that's why they don't have to show me their character.
"This is one of the best Liverpool (sides) ever, one of the best sides I ever play (against) and every three days being there, being there, being there, it is remarkable. I want to win it but I will not judge (them) if we don't."