The frustration continued after the break for City as Southampton, defending as if their lives depended on it, began to sense it might be their day.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's side, only eight days removed from their 9-0 humbling at home to Leicester and four days on from a 3-1 Carabao Cup loss here on Tuesday night, defended their unexpected lead superbly for 70 minutes, showing bravery and commitment to deny City clear chances.
The relief, the unburdening of all that pent-up frustration, then, was clear to see in the Manchester City manager's celebration when Kyle Walker scored a late victor to complete a dramatic fightback.
"They are top quality players, they are fast players". Everyone plays the way we want to play.
"This is one of the best teams in the world".
Guardiola's agitation was obvious as he turned into the world's best paid ball boy for much of the second half, trying to keep the momentum high as City pressed forward, and the Catalan clashed a couple of times with Southampton's coaches as he tried to retrieve the ball. "You can see how much he was celebrating when they scored".
City rallied and pushed and probed at the Saints box with regularity, yet their every attempt to create an opening was pushed back. They had a lot of possession, which is normal. We have the quality - it is about the mental state of the players. So it was important to come out and show a reaction.
Kyle Walker scored a late victor as Manchester City came from behind to beat Southampton 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola said: 'We are going to try but I don't think so.
The reaction of Pep Guardiola on the touchline said it all.
"In the second half we had maybe 30 or 35 minutes where we were so intense in our actions".
However Metropolis's fightback no less than made certain they didn't lose any extra floor on Liverpool, who additionally produced a late comeback to win 2-1 at Aston Villa, with six factors separating the highest two forward of their showdown at Anfield subsequent weekend.
"We did everything we could and in the end our intensity, and our players, paid off", Guardiola told BBC Sport.