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Guardiola and Conte both expressed their opinions on the game

Pep Guardiola was given a stark reminder of what Harry Kane might have brought to Manchester City but insisted that the transfer saga belonged in the past after a shock 3-2 defeat to Tottenham.

City leads the way in the English top-flight again this year, but their lead over Liverpool is down to six points, and Jurgen Klopp’s team have a game in hand.

Guardiola said City had been involved in a “good game”, pointing to Tottenham’s deep defending as making his side’s task difficult.

He added praise for how Tottenham’s front three of Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski offered a threat to City’s backline, adding on Sky Sports: “They are clinical, and the crosses we could not defend.”

City wanted Kane during the last close-season, and the feeling was probably mutual.

Despite this, the England captain stayed at Tottenham and has benefited from Antonio Conte’s arrival in the middle of the season.

There is now a genuine title race, and Guardiola said:

“I don’t need a game today to know it. I knew it a month ago. There are many, many games to play. People are going to drop points.”

When asked about Kane in a later news conference, Guardiola said signing the striker “never was an option” for City,

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Despite admitting there was interest and urging people to “forget” that saga.

He should be so lucky.

“It’s not necessary for him to show today the goals he scored to show his quality with the ball. All the UK knows it,” Guardiola said, signalling Kane’s display came as no surprise.

Spurs boss Conte was impressed his team put their recent rocky form behind them to produce such an eye-catching result.

Recruit Kulusevski scored the opener after a slick play involving Kane and Son, and Kane restored Tottenham’s lead after an Ilkay Gundogan leveller.

Riyad Mahrez looked to have pinched a point with a late penalty, only for Kane to head his second goal of the game.

Conte told Sky Sports:

“It was a good win for us and a win we need to try to give us more confidence. It wasn’t simple to play against Manchester City after three losses in a row, but this is a process. We are working very hard to try to improve every aspect.

“This type of game has to give us the confidence to trust the work we are doing. There needed to be a reaction [to the defeats].”

Conte described Kane as “highly important”, adding:

“He had chances to score, and I think we created the chances to score, and today our strikers did very well, and Harry was excellent to keep the ball.

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“I think the first goal was great because this goal is about our job, the work that we are doing every day.”

But Conte warned: “One win is not enough. Don’t forget we are coming after three losses.

“But for sure, to win against Manchester City can give you confidence and trust in what you are doing.

“We can improve a lot. This is a fantastic group of players, and this group is one of the best players I’ve worked with in my career. We have a lot of work to do, but we are not afraid to do it.”

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