Pep Guardiola handed awkward reminder about his Man City future by laughing Man United

Manchester City arrived at Wembley to make more history but saw the end of a few eras instead after a drab defeat to Manchester United.

Whether Erik Ten Hag remains at Old Trafford remains to be seen but the Blues and Rodri must start again next season after seeing 35-match and 74-match unbeaten runs respectively ended. On top of English football six days previously celebrating a fourth successive Premier League title, here they were outplayed by a team they had beaten twice and finished 31 points above; to make it worse, it was their neighbours who they have spent the year laughing at.

Pep Guardiola had warned this performance could happen, and singled out Bruno Fernandes before the game as a specific threat for United. Yet in truth nobody saw this coming as United produced a performance they hadn't done all season to stun the Blues.

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Kyle Walker had to be alert inside the first ten seconds as United looked to catch City as cold as they had been done on this occasion last season. Marcus Rashford hounded down on goal after a long kick over the top but his England teammate used his exceptional recovery pace to get the Blues out of trouble.

Still inside the first minute, City went straight up the other end and were furious that a penalty wasn't given when Lisandro Martinez barged into the back of Erling Haaland. Pep Guardiola, smart in a suit but without the lucky sweatshirt that he never dared go against in the title race, was remonstrating on the touchline as his players queried the decision.

City enjoyed the majority of possession even if they struggled to make further inroads on Andre Onana's goal in the opening half-hour. United's threat on the counter remained though, and Stefan Ortega - the hero a few weeks ago at Spurs - had already shown a rashness when he passed the ball to Mateo Kovacic inside the six-yard box when the pass wasn't on, and then came out almost to the halfway line approach a ball that Walker already had covered.

Moments later, the goalkeeper charged to the edge of his area when he sensed danger but didn't get there ahead of the leaping Josko Gvardiol and could only watch as the defender headed the ball over them both to give Alejandro Garnacho a simple tap-in. Not for the first time this season, City had given away a soft goal.

The uncertainty among the backline has not been present in recent months though, and with John Stones and Nathan Ake - brought in for Ruben Dias and Manu Akanji - unable to grasp control of the game a sublime disguised pass from Bruno Fernandes allowed Kobbie Mainoo to add a second before half-time. They left the field asking for even more from their fans as City trudged off wondering what on earth had gone wrong.

A double change at half-time instantly brought improvement, with Jeremy Doku troubling Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Erling Haaland seeing a shot come off the underside of the bar and bounce out as Onana's goal began to be troubled. Before the hour-mark, Guardiola took a big call in replacing the ineffective Kevin De Bruyne with Julian Alvarez.

Onana produced a stunning save from Walker from outside the box and then Alvarez missed one presentable chance and then one sitter within seven minutes of coming on. City were well on top by this point, they just hadn't made it count on the scoreboard.

It remained that way until the 87th minute, when Doku's wriggling finally paid off as he squirmed a shot through Onana to get City back into it. The celebrations from the City fans at that end were not matched by the players, who ran back to the centre-circle to try and get another.

The game plan was simple: get the ball to Doku. He had United all ends up whenever he touched the ball, and there was an awkward ping-pong in the box as another ball failed to be dealt with. City had simply left it too late though and even seven minutes of injury time couldn't see them force extra time.

Defeat allows their neighbours to play European football next season and may yet keep Ten Hag in a job, but also provides extra fuel for Guardiola and the City players when they return next season. The manager showed his players a mountain that they were at the bottom of last August as they attempted to move on from the Treble, and now the eighth- best team in the country have given them a reminder that they cannot afford to rest on their laurels.

Guardiola appeared broken after the Premier League win last weekend, admitting that he didn't know how to motivate his side for next season while stating that he was sure they would all find a way after a break. Captain Walker agreed with him ahead of this final, challenging them to win five in a row and keep 'swinging the pendulum' away from United.

Nobody expected the City boss to stay as long as nine years at the Etihad, but a serial winner has been addicted to finding new ways to defeat opponents and prove that they can be the best team in England and Europe. Ten Hag's United may have been laughing at the end, they may have ruined the end of City's season with this FA Cup shock, but they have given Guardiola a reminder of why he has stayed so long in the game - and why he could yet stay longer.

Whatever else goes on around them, City and their manager have work to do to ensure their era of dominance does not end soon.