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Pep Guardiola labels Chelsea an “incredible team” after out-possessing Manchester City

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on Chelsea after they dominated possession despite losing 2-1 to Manchester City on Saturday.

The Blues took the lead at the Etihad Stadium through N’Golo Kante, before goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez turned the game around for the reigning Premier League champions.

However, although City ultimately emerged victorious against their big-six rivals, they were out-passed by Frank Lampard’s men.

The home team registered only 46.74% possession, the lowest figure ever recorded by a side coached by Guardiola in any of his 381 top-flight games as a manager.

That includes his 127 Premier League matches in charge of City, as well as 152 La Liga outings as Barcelona boss and 102 Bundesliga contests while at the helm of Bayern Munich.

And Guardiola was quick to hail Chelsea and Lampard for their approach to the game, even though they left the Etihad empty-handed.

"There is always one thing in your lifetime that has not happened – it happened," he told reporters when the statistic was put to him after the match.

"So, OK, I have another record, I won one game without possession. They are an incredible team with Kante, [Mateo] Kovacic, Jorginho, so it can happen.

"They are so good, they are an incredible team. It's Chelsea. Football is becoming like this. Most teams and young managers have spirit and nothing to lose. That's why the football is nice. Chelsea are playing incredibly well.”

Saturday’s win saw City climb above Chelsea and into third place in the Premier League table, although they remain nine points behind leaders Liverpool after losing to their title rivals two weeks ago.

Guardiola’s side face Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday, before a trip to Newcastle next weekend, when they will be looking to close the gap with Liverpool at the summit of the standings.

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