Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe admitted Manchester City were “a level above” his side after losing 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium,.
Howe was disappointed by the manner in which Bournemouth allowed Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho to score a pair of first-half goals, seeing City play the kind of pressing game he is trying to instil in his players.
Further goals from Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan made the result emphatic for City, and Howe was critical of his defenders.
“It’s tough to take. When you lose in the manner that we did it’s difficult, a tough afternoon,” Howe told BBC Radio Solent.
“I really believe that if we’d got our defensive play right we’d have had a chance of getting something from the game but unfortunately the goals we conceded in the first half were really disappointing, especially the second one. That’s a difficult one to take.
“They didn’t let us breathe today. We couldn’t get any momentum with our passing. We were pressed and hounded, as we like to do to teams.
“I thought they were a level above us, but I feel we could have done a lot better.”
Callum Wilson, who scored the winner in Bournemouth’s 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion, was dropped from Howe’s starting line-up to make way for Jack Wilshere in a five-man midfield, and Howe admitted the Arsenal loanee had a tough afternoon.
How said: “It was a difficult one for him because the team didn’t get high enough up the pitch to see his true quality, and that’s where he’s going to excel for us – in the attacking third.
“He’ll get better from this point as he gets fitter and gets to know the team.
“It’s always difficult to leave players out but, tactically, to come here and play the system we played previously was impossible.
“It was a case of trying to shore up the middle of the pitch and give us a platform to stay in the game. If we could have gone in at half-time even 1-0 down I think we were bang in the game.”