Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he is struggling to understand why his side have lost nine Premier League games this season.
City lost 1-0 at Southampton on Sunday – a third straight away league defeat.
It is the first time in his career that Guardiola has overseen such a run, while nine losses is the most the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has ever had in a single campaign.
“We played more than good but it is not enough to win the games,” he said.
How often has Pep lost league games as a manager?
“We cannot say we are not a team who score goals this season. We are leading in goals. We create a lot of chances. We are a team who concede less – no team conceded as few chances as us but we lost a lot of games.
“It’s difficult even for me to find a reason why but you have to insist and talk about the game, the way they play and try to do more, concede as few as possible and score up front.”
City won back-to-back Premier League titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19, recording a record tally of 100 points in the first of those successes and the division’s second-highest tally of 98 in the second.
But they have missed out to Liverpool this season, with the Reds 23 points ahead of Guardiola’s side with five games remaining.
The biggest deficits a Guardiola-managed side had previously had to an eventual league winner was 15 in 2016-17 – his first season at Manchester City when Chelsea won the title – and nine in 2011-12, when Barcelona lost out on the La Liga title to Real Madrid.
Mind the gap
How far was Guardiola behind the champions?
City were hugely impressive in thrashing Liverpool 4-0 on Thursday but the defeat at St Mary’s means they have lost four of their past nine Premier League matches.
But the Spaniard believes his side will soon get back to their best and once again start finishing off the many chances they create.
He added: “I have confidence we can do it because we are the same guys and we did it in previous seasons.
“This season the way we are playing is quite similar but it is not enough to win the games.”
Despite falling short in the league, City have already won the Carabao Cup and could end up with a treble, as they are 2-1 up against Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16 and still have an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal to come.