My game plan was not good: Pep Guardiola takes blame for City’s FA Cup defeat

Pep Guardiola admitted he got his tactics wrong as Manchester City’s reign as FA Cup holders was ended by a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in the final at Wembley.

Six days after securing a record fourth consecutive Premier League title, City were hit with two goals in nine first-half minutes by United to dash their hopes of becoming the first team in English football history to win back-to-back league and cup doubles.

Despite dominating the ball and putting United under sustained pressure for much of the game, Guardiola’s side lacked the attacking edge they have demonstrated during the season and looked out of sorts in the final third, ultimately coming unstuck at the hands of clinical finishing from Erik ten Hag’s team.

“Tactically, it was not good,” said Guardiola. “I was not good today. You plan a game for different positions but it didn’t work.

“Even with that, we arrive two or three times in the final third and byline and made nothing from crosses. They made one goal from one shot and the goal from (Kobbie) Mainoo and no more than that.

“Always when we play against United we have the control, and we created in the second half but we were not able to do it.”

The first goal came from a City mistake. A pass played long over the top should have been a simple mop-up job for Josko Gvardiol running towards his own goal, but as Stefan Ortega raced out the defender nodded it straight over the advancing goalkeeper allowing Alejandro Garnacho, who had gambled on a mistake, to nip in and knock the ball into an empty net.

It had come against the run of play and the goal was a gift, but United’s second was expertly worked and worthy of settling a cup final.

Marcus Rashford pumped a raking cross-field ball into the path of Garnacho, who reversed it inside to Bruno Fernandes. The United captain looked one way and applied the deftest touch to roll the ball in the opposite direction to Kobbie Mainoo, and with the coolest flick of the right boot the 19-year-old flashed it past Ortega for 2-0.

City applied significant pressure after the break and pulled one back three minutes from the end when substitute Jeremy Doku beat Andre Onana at his near post, the goalkeeper at fault for letting the ball slip through his grasp.

But the equaliser would not come as Guardiola was left to rue a rare tactical miscue.

“My decisions we were not in the right positions to attack them,” he said. “My mistake, my game plan was not good.

“When you lose a final you are disappointed but we celebrated good this week and when you make 91 Premier League points, it’s because you make a lot of points and the journey was really good.

“But you have to be so proud to celebrate what you have done.”