By Andy Hampson, PA
Ferran Torres insists Manchester City will not stop to dwell on Saturday’s surprise defeat at the hands of 10-man Leeds.
The runaway Premier League leaders experienced a rare loss – just their second in 29 games in all competitions – as Leeds snatched a 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium with Stuart Dallas’ second goal in injury time.
It was a result which defied the statistics, with City racking up 29 shots to Leeds’ two, while the visitors played more than half the game a man down after the sending off of captain Liam Cooper.
Yet while aspects of the game clearly frustrated manager Pep Guardiola – a water bottle was thrown hard at the ground at one point – a thorough inquest is hardly likely. Not only is the result unlikely to deny City a third title in four years, but they have other more pressing matters in their quadruple quest.
Wednesday sees them travel to Germany for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund, which is finely poised at 2-1 in the English side’s favour.
Winger Torres, who scored City’s equaliser against Leeds, said: “We are obviously sad for the result but the good thing is we are still on top of the table, close to our objective.
“Now we just turn the page and focus on the Champions League game against Dortmund because it doesn’t stop. We want to be in the semi-finals of the Champions League.”
City started slowly but were beginning to assert themselves, with Raheem Sterling spurning one particularly good chance, before Leeds grabbed the lead with a sweet Dallas strike after 42 minutes.
It was an advantage that immediately became precarious as Cooper was dismissed, following a VAR review, after a poor tackle on Gabriel Jesus.
City piled on the pressure after the break but met with stubborn defence after Marcelo Bielsa reorganised his side. They did finally register through Torres 14 minutes from time but, pressing for a winner, they were caught out by Dallas’ late breakaway.
Torres said: “We know that Bielsa’s teams run a lot and are difficult teams to beat, and when they were down to 10 men they stayed back and made it difficult for us.
“We created a lot of chances but we couldn’t score them and win the game.”
Leeds’ victory was a landmark first over one of the recognised ‘big six’ since their promotion back to the top flight.
Centre-back Diego Llorente admitted he could hardly believe what he was seeing as Dallas broke away for the winner after all the defensive work the side had been forced to do.
The 27-year-old told LUTV: “I cannot believe it because all the team was very tired.
“I don’t know where he (Dallas) got the energy but he got the goal and I am very happy for him and all the team.
“It was very nervous at the end but the team did a great effort. We knew that with the red card of Cooper it was going to be difficult but the team, in the second half, had a great attitude and did a great job. With the effort of the whole team, we got the victory.”