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Manchester City not up to standard as Guardiola left watching defeat from stands

The City boss was serving a touchline ban as City suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Lyon.

Pep Guardiola could do nothing as City were beaten by Lyon (Martin Rickett/PA)
Pep Guardiola could do nothing as City were beaten by Lyon (Martin Rickett/PA)

Pep Guardiola looked on from the stands in helpless frustration as Manchester City slumped to defeat in their Champions League opener.

The City boss, serving a touchline ban, could do nothing as his side succumbed 2-1 to Lyon in a dismal start to their Group F campaign at the Etihad Stadium.

City were sluggish and were punished for mistakes as Maxwel Cornet and Nabil Fekir struck fine counter-attacking goals in the first half. Bernardo Silva pulled one back after the break but City could not recover.

City failed to spark against Lyon and have now lost four successive Champions League games (Martin Rickett/PA)

Under the temporary charge of assistant boss Mikel Arteta, City lacked their usual drive and looked far from the competition favourites bookmakers had made them earlier this week.

Arteta refused to use the absence of Guardiola as an excuse after a defeat which ended City’s unbeaten start to the season.

Asked if the performance might have been different with Guardiola’s input, Arteta said: “I have no idea. That’s something hypothetical. The reality is that Pep wasn’t here and we lost the game.

“If he would have been on the touchline, I couldn’t say if we would have won 5-0 or lost 0-3.”

Arteta did not make any excuses (Martin Rickett/PA)

Having lost the second leg of last season’s last-16 tie to Basle, and then both legs of the quarter-final to Liverpool, City have now lost four successive Champions League games.

Arteta conceded the team were not up to standard.

The Spaniard said: “At this level, it’s not good enough.

“You have zero margin in the Champions League. When you make mistakes, you get punished.

“Whether it is a lack of attention, not winning the duels, losing simple balls or not being effective enough, you pay the price and this is another great example of that.”

Bernardo Silva pulled a goal back for City but it was not enough (Martin Rickett/PA)

The attendance of 40,111 was some way below capacity but Arteta refused to make a perceived lack of atmosphere an issue.

He said: “I wouldn’t like to use that as an excuse because we had that type of crowd in the Champions League before and we were able to win.

“The ideal scenario is to have a full stadium every time and being behind the team like crazy but we know sometimes it doesn’t happen.”

City started well and had chances through Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte before Fabian Delph failed to clear a cross and Cornet struck after 26 minutes. Fekir, a recent Liverpool target, doubled the advantage after Fernandinho lost possession.

Memphis Depay (left) caused problems for City (Martin Rickett/PA)

Former Manchester United forward Memphis Depay then hit the post before Silva led a City rally but it was not enough.

“It’s a great achievement and a deserved one,” said Lyon boss Bruno Genesio. “We won and that’s hugely satisfying.”

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph