Pep Guardiola hoping Manchester City learn from close Watford call

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Pep Guardiola hopes Manchester City’s nerve-jangling victory against Watford will serve as a wake-up call to his players.

City extended their lead at the summit of the Premier League with a 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night, but they were made to fight for the three points after Abdoulaye Doucoure pulled one back for Watford in the closing stages.

The champions had been in complete control of the fixture, but spurned a number of chances to put the victory beyond doubt after Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez scored either side of half-time.

“We spoke in the locker room and we have to learn from what happened in the last 20 to 25 minutes,” said Guardiola.

“That is the lesson. You can never forget to play, until the last second when the referee decides to go home.

“It is a normal process to win something and then to improve, and to improve, you have to live this kind of situation.

“Today we suffered, but we will talk, we will train and we will visualise that if we let the opponents play for five, 10, 15 minutes, everybody can cause us problems and beat us.”

Guardiola made six changes to the City side that beat Bournemouth on Saturday, with Raheem Sterling dropping to the bench.

But even without their top scorer, the table-toppers created a host of chances in the opening period, only to find Ben Foster in inspired fine form.

Sane finally broke the deadlock five minutes before half-time with Mahrez side-footing home shortly after the interval.

Captain Vincent Kompany was withdrawn with cramp in the final minutes before Doucoure bundled the ball over the line to ensure a nervy end for Guardiola’s team.

City however, hung on to move five points clear of Liverpool, who face Burnley on Wednesday.

Their victory was played out against the backdrop of off-the-pitch allegations that they have flouted Financial Fair Play rules, but Guardiola insisted on Tuesday night he will welcome any investigation.

“I trust in my club and my organisation and if something is wrong, they will tell us,” he added.

Watford meanwhile, have now lost four of their last five matches, but boss Javi Gracia was proud of his side’s performance.

“City dominated the game and created a lot of chances, but in the last minutes we had some chances and I am very proud of the effort of my players,” he said.

“I know it is very difficult to compete against this team. They find the space, they are really dangerous and if you lose one second of concentration, you know what will happen.

“We didn’t do enough to get a good result, but it is good for us because we showed the spirit until the end and the supporters will be proud of our players.”

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