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FA Cup final 2024: Man City were better than Man United – Guardiola

Erling Haaland went closest for City but has now failed to score in any of his four appearances at Wembley

Manchester City football manager Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said the Premier League champions were better than Manchester United in their shock 2-1 defeat in the FA Cup final 2024.

Guardiola disagreed that United were the superior side when the suggestion was put to the Spaniard by BBC Sport, having overseen his first defeat in a domestic English cup final courtesy of an out-of-sorts display.

“I’m not sure about the chances we had and they had,” said Guardiola. “In the second half, we were there all the time. Manchester United are always a transition team, for 10, 20 or 30 years.

“In the first half we struggled a bit but in the second half we were better. We found our moment but scored a little bit late, with the chances we had.”

City had more than 73% of possession and 19 of the 30 attempts at goal, but United had five of the nine on target and established a 2-0 half-time lead through strikes from Alejandro Garnacho – pouncing on a mix-up between City’s Stefan Ortega and Josko Gvardiol – and Kobbie Mainoo.

City top scorer Erling Haaland angled a shot against the crossbar shortly after the break, while Kyle Walker’s long-range drive was well-saved by Andre Onana and substitute Julian Alvarez rolled a presentable opportunity wide.

United remained a threat, though, and City could only reply three minutes from time when Onana failed to keep out Jeremy Doku’s effort at his near post.

“In general, it was a good performance for a final,” assessed Guardiola. “I congratulated all of my players for a fantastic season. We congratulate United. It was a tight game.”

Asked about Ortega and Gvardiol’s error, Guardiola said: “It can happen. Many things can happen in a final: decisions… in the end, they scored two goals and we could not score more.”

United gained revenge for their 2-1 defeat in last season’s final, qualifying for the Uefa Europa League in a game which was the last of manager Erik ten Hag’s tenure, according to reports the previous day.

Ten Hag guided United to an underwhelming eighth-placed finish in the top flight but added a second trophy to his collection with the club, having won the 2022/23 Carabao Cup.

“They have to take a decision,” Guardiola said of his counterpart. “He’s a lovely person and an extraordinary manager. Winning the FA Cup is important for them, like last season it was for us.”

Picture of Ben Miller

Ben Miller

Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.