Pep Guardiola takes blame for Man City's shock FA Cup final loss to Manchester United

Guardiola shouldered the blame for Man City’s loss (REUTERS)
Guardiola shouldered the blame for Man City’s loss (REUTERS)

Pep Guardiola insists his poor gameplan was to blame for Manchester City’s shock FA Cup final defeat - and not their Premier League title celebrations.

City arrived at Wembley on Saturday looking to become the first team in English football history to secure back-to-back doubles but were stunned by a superb Manchester United display.

Goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo gave United a 2-0 half-time lead and the under-pressure Erik Ten Hag saw his side produce perhaps the best 45 minutes of their season.

City improved after the break, with Guardiola sending on Manuel Akanji and Jeremy Doku and pushing John Stones into midfield, but Doku’s late strike came too late to inspire a comeback.

“Congratulations to Man United,” Guardiola said. “I think my gameplan in the first-half was not good. The second-half was much, much better, we were more intense, partly because we were 2-0 down and we didn’t have anything to lose.”

Asked to expand on the problem with his team’s first-half approach, the Spaniard said: “Because of my decisions, we were not in the right positions to attack them. It was my mistake, my gameplan was not good.

“The players know the reason why. Tactically, it was not good, I had a feeling it was not good. It didn’t work, as simple as that.”

City wrapped up a fourth consecutive league title on last weekend’s final day of the season thanks to a 3-1 victory at home to West Ham, having been pushed all the way by Arsenal. However, Guardiola insisted the celebrations of that success were not to blame for his team’s sluggish start at Wembley.

“No, completely the opposite, they were focused,” he said. “How we reacted in the second-half was very good.”

More celebrations are will take place on Sunday, with plans for a trophy parade in Manchester set to go ahead despite Saturday’s defeat.

“We are sad but we celebrate tomorrow an incredible achievement and come back, it's as simple as that,” Guardiola added. “Now the feeling, of course, when you lose a final is that we’re disappointed. But we celebrate good this week and enjoy the Premier League. When you reach 91 points, it’s because we won a lot and the journey was really, really good. We have to be proud and celebrate what we’ve done.”