Pep Guardiola insists anything can still happen in the Premier League title race after his Manchester City side were surprisingly beaten 2-1 by Newcastle.
Aiming to close the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to one point, City made the perfect start at St James’ Park as Sergio Aguero scored after 24 seconds.
However, Newcastle replied with two second-half goals to dent City’s title ambitions.
Liverpool could go seven points clear if they beat Leicester on Wednesday, but Guardiola said: “Well, it’s a lot of points if they go on to win, but we are in January, it’s not April or May. There are still many games and anything can happen..
“A lot of teams are playing many reasons, teams to stay in the Premier League, others to go to the Europa League, for the Champions League.
“In our case, every game, we have to do our best to be there, try to not give up, move forward and try another time and another time.”
Asked whether City had underestimated Newcastle, Guardiola said: “Never. When you are in four competitions it is because you don’t underestimate one competition or one team. When you get 100 points it is because you don’t underestimate one team. If you do you are not in the final of the Carabao Cup.
“Sometimes we don’t play the level we want to play, it happens… It’s everybody, it’s not just one player. We could not win, because we were not at our best, that’s all.”
Guardiola was left to bemoan a missed opportunity, but backed his players to bounce back from a disappointing evening.
“It was not our best night,” said Guardiola. “We were not at our best, sometimes that happens, I can understand the players.
“We didn’t play like normal, it happens sometimes, unfortunately we couldn’t win.”
“I love these players. I know how they feel right now and I am beside them, close to them. It’s an incredible group. Sometimes it happens.”