Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has insisted that his side completing an entire Premier League season unbeaten "is not going to happen" following their goalless draw with Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon.
In the penultimate English top-flight fixture of 2017, the Citizens were eyeing a European record-equalling victory, but the north west giants struggled to find their way through a dogged Eagles defence and could well have left Selhurst Park with nothing.
The hosts had the best opportunity of the clash in second-half stoppage time as visitors substitute Raheem Sterling was adjudged to have bundled
Man City have faced Man United, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool yet Crystal Palace are the first side to stop them from scoring in the league. Roy Hodgson's a football genius.— Mootaz Chehade (@MHChehade) December 31, 2017
“That is not going to happen”, the Catalan told his post-match press conference, as quoted by The Independent.
“I am not thinking to be unbeaten. Maybe Arsene is worried about that but I tell him many times ‘2004, that run is for him’.
Not our best performance today. But nevertheless we can be very proud of our season so far. Thx for your support, all the best in the new year! And get well soon @DeBruyneKev & @gabrieljesus33 #inSané #LS19 @ManCity pic.twitter.com/8z4CtSBxCJ— Leroy Sané (@LeroySane19) December 31, 2017
While Guardiola expressed relief at the penalty save, and revealed he did not believe Zaha's rather soft crumple to the floor under the challenge of Sterling was a dive, the 46-year-old said the Premier League's intensity means such incidents are inevitable and is also a significant factor in why his side will not remain unbeaten.
“It was a good save in the last minute. They had another chance when Zaha crossed and Townsend hit it over”, he added.
“We missed the last action but it is normal in a period of a lot of games, in the period where we are. People start to be tired.
Are Man City in crisis? That’s 4 points dropped this season now — The F2 (@TheF2) December 31, 2017
“I have said many times we are going to lose games. We cannot stay in four competitions winning every three days at that intensity.