Pep Guardiola was coy but honest following his side’s brutal 4-0 defeat at the hands of his former club Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Wednesday evening.
When asked whether he felt that the final result was an accurate reflection of the game as a whole, Pep stopped short of agreeing but was suggested that it probably was.
Individual errors were costly, says Pep
“It is what it is,” he said. “We tried to go out and play, to play high up the field. We had chances. You can’t beat Barcelona unless you score against them. It’s as simple as that.”
The initial damage came from two individual errors: the first when Fernandinho slipped in the box to allow Messi a free route to goal and Barcelona’s opener, the second Claudio Bravo’s dismissal early in the second half for palming away Luis Suarez’s chip outside the box.
“Did individual errors cost us? Fernandino, Claudio [Bravo]. Yes, I suppose they did,” he said. “But it’s part of the game. That’s football.”
Not his worst ever defeat as a manager
Though visibly disappointed and shocked by the ease with which his former team carved apart his City side, Pep stopped short of calling the 4-0 defeat the worst of his managerial career.
"The worst defeat of my career was with Bayern against Madrid, it was the whole situation and the mistakes I made with the starting line-up," he said.
Agüero dropped to bolster the midfield
Guardiola also said that his decision to start Sergio Agüero on the bench was driven by the need to bolster the midfield. “We were looking for an extra man in midfield,” an extra midfielder,” he said. Kevin de Bruyne started up front through the middle, but found himself dropping deeper and deeper as the game went on to provide extra cover in the middle of the park.
Pep is well aware what Leo Messi is capable of. “It’s not the first time he’s done what he did tonight,” he said when asked whether he expected the Argentine to be as lethal as he was after returning from injury.
Manchester City can still qualify
He was, however, cautiously optimistic about qualification for the knock-out stages following a poor start to the European campaign. “There are still games left,” he said. “We said we had to win four games to qualify and there a still three games to go. We’ll see how things go.”
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