Pep: First de­feat will only make City stronger

Sunderland Echo - - Football -

Pep Guardi­ola be­lieves Manch­ester City will emerge stronger fol­low­ing their first de­feat of the sea­son.

City were beaten 2-1 by Shakhtar Donetsk in their fi­nal Cham­pi­ons League Group F game in freez­ing Kharkiv last night. The loss brought to an end a run of 20 suc­ces­sive vic­to­ries and was their first loss in 29 matches stretch­ing back to April.

With top spot in the group al­ready as­sured, it mat­tered lit­tle in terms of the Cham­pi­ons League but it was hardly ideal prepa­ra­tion for Sun­day’s Premier League derby trip toManch­esterUnited.

City boss Guardi­ola said: “It hurts. It is never nice to lose. But we have said many times we can­not win all the time, we are go­ing to lose games. This was the first.

“We needed to lose a game. It will be good for the club, for all of us and the me­dia. Peo­ple say things when you win a lot and you can for­get that now. “We saw many good things but we made mis­takes and we are go­ing to im­prove on that. Foot­ball is how you re­cover in the good mo­ments and bad mo­ments to stay sta­ble. “Now we pre­pare for Sun­day and then think about Swansea and Tot­ten­ham.”

It was with this week­end’s trip to Old Traf­ford in mind that Guardi­ola made seven changes. Among those to fea­ture were 17-year-old Phil Fo­den, mak­ing his full de­but, and 20-year-old de­fender Tosin Adara­bioyo. Brahim Diaz, 18, also ap­peared as a sec­ond-half sub­sti­tute.

Guardi­ola said: “We played to win un­til the end. We did a good per­for­mance and young play­ers like Tosin, Phil, Brahim played re­ally well.

“Play­ers like Yaya (Toure) and (Ilkay) Gun­do­gan made a good per­for­mance as well and Bernardo (Silva) was bril­liant. We cre­ated chances. Now it’s about re­cov­ery and pre­par­ing for the next game.”

Shakhtar’s de­served win guar­an­teed their place in the knock­out stages, al­though Napoli’s loss to Feyeno­ord meant they would have gone through any­way. Brazil­ians Bernard and Is­maily struck for Donetsk be­fore sub Ser­gio Aguero hit a late con­so­la­tion penalty.

Gabriel Je­sus fights for City.

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