Pep Guardiola: Man City boss wary of 'tough' fixture challenge

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Newcastle 2-1 Manchester City: Blues not aggressive enough - Guardiola

Pep Guardiola said his Manchester City side have to overcome the "challenge" of a difficult run of fixtures as they seek to get their title defence back on track after a 2-1 loss at Newcastle.

Leaders Liverpool could move seven points clear of the champions if they beat Leicester at Anfield on Wednesday.

"Next week will be tough with Arsenal, Everton and Chelsea," he said.

"If we want to go up as a club we have to accept that challenge. There are a lot of titles and points to play for."

Jurgen Klopp's Reds appear to have an easier run with matches against West Ham and Bournemouth to follow after their game against the Foxes.

City took the lead after only 24 seconds when Sergio Aguero scored his 17th goal of the season, but that was only one of four efforts they managed on target in the match.

Newcastle hit back in the 66th minute when Salomon Rondon fired home before Matt Ritchie scored the winner from the spot after Fernandinho had fouled Sean Longstaff in the area.

It was the champions' fourth league defeat of the season and Guardiola's men have now conceded as many goals in this campaign as they did in the entirety of the last.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss added: "I love these players.

"They gave me all the prestige I have in England. I will try to be here to help them. I know how they feel right now and I am beside them, close to them. It is an incredible group of players, group of guys.

"Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't - we had won eight games in a row and scored 30 goals without reply."

When asked about his side's display at St James' Park, Guardiola said: "Our game was slow, we didn't commit. They shoot for the first time and it's a goal, the second was a penalty. But congratulations to Newcastle.

"It was not our best night. We lost second balls, we were not aggressive enough, that's why we could not win."

Fixtures coming up (Premier League unless stated)
LiverpoolManchester City
30 JanuaryLeicester City (H)
3 FebruaryArsenal (H)
4 FebruaryWest Ham (A)
6 FebruaryEverton (A)
9 FebruaryBournemouth (H)
10 FebruaryChelsea (H)
16 FebruaryBoro/Newport (FA Cup)
19 FebruaryBayern Munich (H) (CL)
20 FebruarySchalke 04 (A) (CL)
24 FebruaryManchester United (A)Chelsea (EFL Cup final)
27 FebruaryWatford (H)West Ham (H)

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