Pep Guardiola said Manchester City‘s 4-4 draw at Chelsea was proof that his team have not gone “soft” after winning the Treble last season, despite conceding three lead on three occasions at Stamford Bridge.
A 95th minute penalty scored by Cole Palmer, who joined Chelsea in a £40m transfer from City in September, sealed a point for Mauricio Pochettino’s side to extend their revival under the former Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain coach.
But although City uncharacteristically failed to close out a game after repeatedly being in a winning position, they go into the international break with a one point lead over Liverpool — their next opponents — at the top of the Premier League.
And Guardiola said that his side have shown that they have not dropped their standards since winning the Treble.
“We are top of the league and qualified in the Champions League,” Guardiola said. “From where we have come from [last season], when you can have the tendency to be more soft, it is the complete opposite. It hasn’t happened.
“If you expect come here and win 7-0, you are wrong. Everyone want to beat us. You say there is nothing to lose for them because if Chelsea lose to City, it’s normal, City are a fantastic team.
“But it isn’t normal. Chelsea has always been a tough place to come to, ever since I have been here in England. Chelsea is Chelsea, one of the best teams of the last 25 years, so to come here and not lose is a good result. It is a fair result.
“And Chelsea will be there, in future seasons they will be there. They have built for that.”
City midfielder Rodri, whose deflected goal had put Guardiola’s side 4-3 ahead in the 86th minute, said the game had left he and teammates “exhausted.”
“We feel a bit exhausted,” Rodri told Sky Sports. “This type of game, we know how hard it is to come here. The team Chelsea has built, they have great players and they sign massive players.
“The level of the Chelsea team has risen and it was not our best performance today. Individually we needed to do a bit more ourselves — to concede four goals is not normal for us.
“We keep pushing and sometimes it is like this and you have to score at the other end. But we have to correct some mistakes.
“I think we played how they want. Quick transitions and they are a better team in that situation and they are faster and stronger we have another type of players and we try to play our game and I think we struggled.”