Pep Guardiola has promised that he will “definitely” do better next season but insists he has “enjoyed” his first year in charge of Manchester City.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager won the league in his first season in charge of each of those clubs and he hit the ground running at City, going on a 10-game winning streak which saw them top the Premier League table in September.
However, inconsistencies and uncertainties about players’ futures have disrupted City’s campaign and leaving them fighting just to finish in the top four and the FA Cup as the only prospect of silverware this season.
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings
1/22 Thibaut Courtois - 6
Completely at fault for Aguero's equaliser - a rare lapse in concentration. Showed his strengths moments later though to deny Sane a one-on-one chance on goal.
2/22 Cesar Azpilicueta - 6
Decision making was on point for much of the evening and kept a calm head under pressure.
3/22 Kurt Zouma - 7
A respectable return to the starting line-up. After months on the sideline he seemed to cope well with both the pace and intensity of the game.
4/22 David Luiz - 7
A fierce and fiery performance from the Brazilian. Hit hard in his challenges and dealt with Aguero well.
5/22 Gary Cahill - 6
Solid as ever in his reading of the game and challenges, both on the deck and in the air.
6/22 Marcos Alonso - 6
Handled his defensive duties well and proved effective on the front foot.
7/22 N'Golo Kante - 6
Industrious as ever with his running and positioning but one of his more quiet evenings. Conceded a sloppy foul on the edge of his own box which City nearly equalised from.
8/22 Cesc Fabregas - 6
Kept the ball moving well in the middle and was relatively effective in dictating the flow of the game.
9/22 Pedro - 7
Dealt well with his defensive responsibilities tonight and got well forward to put the City defence under pressure. Questionable touches/passes here and there but overall a good night from him.
10/22 Eden Hazard - 8
Once again, Hazard proved to be the difference. Took his first goal well from a difficult angle and reacted well in his penalty attempt to grab Chelsea's second.
11/22 Diego Costa - 6
Another mixed performance. Menaced the City backline with his physical presence but his hold-up play was found wanting at times. It ultimately fell to others to make the difference tonight.
12/22 Willy Caballero - 6
Completely misjudged Hazard’s first goal. Despite taking an unfortunate deflection off Kompany, he should have done better in dealing with the strike. To his credit, he saved Hazard’s initial penalty kick but couldn’t stop the forward from following up.
13/22 Fernandinho - 5
His reckless challenge on Pedro cost City dearly and handed the home side their second goal. Too hot-headed.
14/22 John Stones - 6
Dominated in his aerial battles but struggled to deal with Hazard’s pace and quick feet. Had a glorious chance to equalise in the second half but couldn’t find the goal.
15/22 Vincent Kompany - 5
For all his fight and heart, there was a certain sharpness missing to his game tonight. His weak positioning afforded Hazard the space for his first goal while his lack of pace saw him struggle to keep up with the tempo of the game at times.
16/22 Gael Clichy - 6
Linked up with City's forward players well and was a nuisance in getting in behind the Blues defence.
17/22 Fabian Delph - 5
A series of early, well-timed challenges boded well but he looked out of depth at times. Not a surprise given his lack of Premier League football this season.
18/22 Jesus Navas - 5
A quiet evening as a whole. Had very little say for himself.
19/22 Kevin de Bruyne - 6
Sloppy passing in the centre of park let team-mates down on occasion. Kept him self busy nonetheless and wasn’t afraid to take on his opposite men.
20/22 David Silva - 7
One of City’s more effective players - especially in the first half. His slick passing and clever link-up play kept the visitors’ midfield ticking over. Created numerous chances too and found himself well positioned to set up City’s equaliser. Couldn't find that all important equaliser though.
21/22 Leroy Sane - 6
Had the chance to put City ahead after Aguero’s equaliser in the first half. Flashed with brilliance but couldn't sustain such form throughout the night.
22/22 Sergio Aguero - 6
A classic poachers finish for City's goal. Certainly kept the Chelsea backline busy but it wasn't to be his night.
One of the players whose future looks unsure is Sergio Aguero, after Guardiola dropped him earlier in the campaign, and the Spaniard admitted goalscoring has been a problem for his side this term and is something he will look to improve next year.
“I will be better – definitely,” he said. “This season was a lesson for me. It's normal when you have 7, 8, or 9 years as a manager to have a season where you don't have as much success as before. It can happen.
“You learn about that, you don't regret that I was not able knowing that our problems in the [penalty] boxes don't solve themselves. That is what I should do in advance to correct that but it is part of our growth.
“I never could imagine in Barcelona, Bayern or when I arrived here knowing absolutely everything. I tried to adapt the players as much as possible. I did it and I think we will be better.
“I feel like we're better now so that is a more interesting year for me as a manager to grow and handle this kind of situation. I didn't complain, I didn't give up.”
The Champions League is so important, [qualifying] will be a huge success from my point of view and of course we have the FA Cup. We still have a lot of things to do.”
A criticism of Guardiola’s side is their inability to beat the top teams this season, and in the nine games they’ve played against fellow members of the top six, they have only managed two wins – against Manchester United and Arsenal – compared to four defeats.
But Guardiola insists this isn’t the reason they’re not challenging for the title, instead citing home results against the league’s other teams as City’s biggest problem.
“I think in the big games it was not a big problem,” Guardiola added. “The problem was at home in the other games, that's the reason why we are here.
“You should analyse game by game, so for example Stoke City in the first half we were not able to create as much - but they didn't shoot one shot on target.
“In the second half, we created enough to win the game. And after, our defeat in Monaco, and in a row we had Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea - it's not easy.
“But in the results, when you make three points [from four games] it's not good enough to compete to win the Premier League.”Reuse content