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    Guardiola blasts ‘happy flowers’ Man City despite Spurs fightback

    MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM (AFP) – Pep Guardiola said Manchester City will be “destroyed” by Arsenal in the Premier League title race if they do not improve despite a stirring second half fightback to beat Tottenham 4-2 early yesterday.

    Two goals in three minutes just before half-time from Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal saw City staring down the barrel of a second consecutive defeat.

    But Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland and Riyad Mahrez struck in a 12-minute period early in the second half before Mahrez added his second late on to move Guardiola’s men to within five points of leaders Arsenal, who have a game in hand.

    City and Arsenal are still to face each other twice in the league this season, but Guardiola took aim at his players for resting on their laurels after winning four league titles in five seasons.

    “We cannot deny how happy we are but we are far away from the team that we were,” said Guardiola.

    “I want a reaction from all the club, not just the players. We are a happy flowers organisation. I don’t want to be, I want to beat Arsenal. If we play that way, Arsenal will destroy us.”

    Manchester City’s Erling Haaland attempts a shot at goal. PHOTO: AP

    Guardiola sent a message with his team selection with Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva among the star names dropped to the bench as Alvarez was paired alongside Haaland in a change of system.

    Tottenham have made a habit of having to come from behind after slow starts this season, but the roles were reversed as a third defeat in four league games leaves Antonio Conte’s men still five points adrift of the top four.

    Spurs’ half-time lead owed much to uncharacteristic City mistakes.

    Ederson’s wayward pass to Rodri played the Spanish midfielder into trouble and the ball eventually dropped to Kulusevski to slot in his first goal since the opening day of the season.

    Moments later Rodri was dispossessed inside his own box again by a Harry Kane tackle and when Ederson parried his shot, Emerson headed in the rebound.

    “We gave them the first goal and then the second goal is ridiculous,” added Guardiola.

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