The Premier League champions were beaten by an Ivan Toney brace at the Etihad, with Phil Foden scoring for City in their final game before the World Cup. The Blues were far off their best against Thomas Frank’s men, and struggled to create clear-cut chances over course of the match.
Meanwhile, Brentford offered a real threat with their direct attacking, and Guardiola said the game was decided by City’s inability to deal with long balls into Toney. “The better team won. We had a lot of problems,” opined the Catalan.
“We couldn’t high press because of the balls [from] keeper to striker. In this process we could not win any balls because when Toney flicked the ball he created problems, when Toney kept the ball and played with the three players in the middle he created problems. And we could not regain the ball in the end.
“We struggled to create chances. Tactically we had problems to control. We struggled to control the long balls from [David] Raya to Toney. You have to be brilliant in the small spaces and we were not.They defended really well.
Asked about Toney, Gaurdiola added: “Last season we suffered from him and he’s an exceptional player for them. He is good, really good. He is able to win [headers] against central defenders. The reality is we were not able to control this aspect. Every time the central defender jumped… we suffered.”
Ten of the 11 players that started for City on Saturday will jet off to Qatar over the coming days and meet up with their respective international teams, but Guardiola said he did not feel this had an impact on the team’s perfromance against the Bees. “I don’t think so - I saw them how good they were in training, how focused they are,” he explained.