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    Guardiola remains optimistic as Man City come unstuck against Toffees

    Josep Guardiola remains optimistic about Manchester City’s performance despite Demarai Gray’s stunning equalizer dashing title hopes on New Year’s Eve.

    Gray scored the top right corner with Everton’s first kick of the game after 64 minutes at the Etihad Stadium, canceling Erling Haaland’s first kick in a 1-1 opening draw.

    After losing to Brentford ahead of the World Cup, City failed to win consecutive home matches for the first time since May 2021 and were left without a Premier League win on 31 December (D4 L1).

    While City’s lost points gave Arsenal the lead in an intriguing battle for top spot in the table, Guardiola saw no reason to criticize his team’s performance.

    “Great game. We played really well in the last three games and that gives me optimism,” he told BBC Sport.

    “Resetting points at home is always difficult, but I always try to improve our game and we continue to do so.

    “I would say there were eight of them in the back. In this situation, it is about movement and attack at the right moment. In general, we did it. We did not allow them to cross.

    “They scored a fantastic goal and when that happens you say congratulations, but overall we did really well.”

    However defender John Stones was less positive, lamenting City’s failure to score a second goal against a resilient Everton side.

    “I really don’t know what to say. I feel like we lost two points,” said the former Toffis centre-back. “This is football.

    “Most of the time we controlled the game and had a lot of chances, but it looks like we couldn’t score this goal.

    “It’s hard to accept after the game. We showed great character to keep fighting and pushing. It was a bit of a patchwork game.

    “We missed two shots in the whole game, but we missed it because of that incredible goal. On reflection, we will be more positive when we look back, I’m sure.”

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