Pep: First defeat will only make City stronger
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.