Pep Guardiola: Man City boss backs players after Norwich defeat

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Norwich are a really good team - Guardiola

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola refused to criticise any of his players despite defensive mistakes playing a part in the Premier League champions' shock 3-2 defeat at Norwich City.

The Canaries raced into a two-goal lead but a Sergio Aguero header just before the break kept City in the game.

A Nicolas Otamendi error allowed Teemu Pukki to make it 3-1 and a late Rodri reply was not enough for the visitors.

"Not for one second am I going to doubt my players," said Guardiola.

"Sometimes you know we make mistakes. I think sometimes we forget these guys are human.

"Football is quick. Things can go wrong and I must see what I can do to help them."

Manchester City were dealt a blow just before the international break when defender Aymeric Laporte injured his knee against Brighton and will be on the sidelines for six months.

It meant John Stones partnered Otamendi in the centre of defence at Norwich, who won the Championship last season, and the pair looked nervous throughout.

They had featured together just six times at centre-back in Manchester City's previous 80 competitive games but Guardiola insisted he has no concerns about playing them together.

"They play together a lot," he added. "They are the central defenders we have - we don't have more. It's not a worry."

The defeat means Manchester City are second in the Premier League, five points behind leaders Liverpool.

"Five points is five points - but we are in September," added Guardiola, whose side are aiming to win a third straight league title.

"What are we supposed to do? Say 'it's September and congratulations to Liverpool, you champions?'"

City's centre-backs since Laporte joined (Premier League only)
Who played?Games started together
Laporte & Otamendi16
Laporte & Stones15
Laporte & Kompany11
Otamendi & Kompany6
Stones & Otamendi4
Stones & Kompany2
Laporte & Stones & Kompany1
Fernandinho & Otamendi1
Laporte & Otamendi & Kompany1

The win for Norwich was even more impressive considering they had eight players out through injury and two goalkeepers on the bench to make up the numbers.

The Championship winners, who are 12th with six points from five games, have been praised for the bold, attacking style of football they have played since returning to the Premier League.

"It was a win for our key people," said Norwich boss Daniel Farke, who is keeping his celebrations of a big win low key.

"It is a night to remember without any doubt.

"I will be happy when I'm back on the sofa. I'm too old and too exhausted to celebrate and we have training in the morning.

"After that I will be on the sofa with coffee and maybe some cake. That is how I celebrate."

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It's a special day to beat Man City - Farke

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