Manchester: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola showed no disappointment after a 2-1 Champions League defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk ended his team’s unbeaten run in all competitions this season.
The result also spoiled Guardiola’s milestone 100th appearance as manager in Europe’s premier club competition but the Spaniard was still delighted with the performances of second-string players in his makeshift side.
“I’m so pleased for Tosin [Adarabioyo], Phil [Foden] and Brahim [Diaz] and how well they played,” he said.
“We came here to win. We couldn’t but we were trying until the end to do so. I’m happy for the performance.”
City were already assured of finishing as Group F winners and, with one eye on Sunday’s Premier League Manchester derby against United, Guardiola rested his entire first-choice back four.
The shuffle played into Shakhtar’s hands as they launched waves of attacks on City’s rearguard, who looked completely at sea and rode their luck before Bernard fired the home side ahead with a superb shot from 15 metres.
City keeper Ederson gifted Shakhtar a second as Ismaily took advantage to tighten the Ukrainian champions’ grip on a knockout-stage berth before Sergio Aguero blasted a late penalty for the visitors.
Shifting his attention to the United game, Guardiola refused to be drawn into billing City as Champions League favourites heading into Monday’s last-16 draw in Nyon, Switzerland.
“Now we are going to rest, come back tomorrow and prepare for the game [against Manchester United],” he said.
“It always happens when the draw [is made] — they talk about it but it depends how the team arrives at that moment, on that day.
“Maybe you are good today but in February, you’re a disaster. Or the opposite. It will be tough. The contenders are tough but we are going to try.”