Pep Guardiola insisted he was more than satisfied with Manchester City’s work in the Champions League group stages despite a 2-1 defeat to RB Leipzig.
City travelled to the Red Bull Arena on Tuesday on the back of a 14-game unbeaten run against German opposition in the competition but fell behind to Dominik Szoboszlai’s first-half strike.
Andre Silva then doubled the hosts’ advantage before Riyad Mahrez pulled a goal back for the visitors, who were hampered by the late dismissal of Kyle Walker for a reckless challenge on Leipzig’s second scorer.
Guardiola’s side were unable to mount a late comeback, though their place at the top of Group A was already confirmed before the final matchday.
City failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their six group stage games and have only recorded one shutout in their past 11 European outings, but Guardiola was pleased with his team’s work.
“In the first half we lacked rhythm, we had problems connecting and they have a really good team – we knew from before the group stage,” Guardiola told reporters.
“The second half was much better but unfortunately we made one or two mistakes and they punished us.
“We played better in the second half. We were more aggressive, we played to win the game and we lost. Congratulations to Leipzig.
“We made an incredible group stage, we qualified with one game left from a tough group, so I am more than satisfied with the performance in every single game and in February hopefully we can arrive in the best condition possible.”
FULL TIME | A disappointing night in Germany but we progress as group winners
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 7, 2021
Alongside Walker’s needless dismissal, Guardiola also left Leipzig with two injury concerns, with Phil Foden – who became the youngest Englishman to reach 30 Champions League appearances – and Nathan Ake suffering knocks.
“Phil [Foden] had problems in the beginning with his ankle, as a precaution I decided to play Raheem [Sterling] in his position,” he continued.
“Nathan [Ake] has a back problem, we’ll see tomorrow [Wednesday].”
Premier League leaders City return to domestic action at home to Wolves on Saturday as they look to return to winning ways.
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