Arteta opts not to blame Pep for Champions League loss

Manchester City’s assistant coach Mikel Arteta has refused to blame Pep Guardiola’s absence from the touchline for City’s Champions League defeat.

Arteta said he had no idea whether Guardiola’s absence due to suspension had anything to do with Manchester City unexpectedly losing a fourth Champions League game in a row, though the assistant coach did accept that the side had been slow and occasionally careless.

“You can’t say what would have happened had Pep been around, it’s completely hypothetical,” Arteta said. “The only reality is that we lost the game. We started quite slowly, we lost too many duels and twice in the first half we gave away the ball in dangerous areas and allowed Lyon to score both times.”

Arteta claimed his side’s reaction in the second half was super.

“At half-time we had to react, but that is normal, whether Pep is in the dressing room or not,” Arteta said. “That happens almost every half-time, it is not a new thing, we just had to try and improve what we were doing. For a coach with managerial ambitions, this first-hand experience was a considerable disappointment. I can’t really explain why we began so slowly, but sometimes in a new competition it takes a while to get on track,” he said.

“We were finding it hard to come up with the right pass, we couldn’t build up any consistency and Lyon were able to take advantage.”

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