Pep Guardiola gave an honest assessment of our defeat to Aston Villa this evening, stressing: ‘The better team won’.

City lost 1-0 to the Villans, courtesy of a Leon Bailey deflected strike in the 74th minute.

Speaking to the media at Villa Park in the aftermath of the loss, the manager was quick to heap praise on our opponents.

“The better team won,” the boss said.

“Aston Villa was better than us. They are well organised, fast and [have] physical players and team and they are able to control many aspects.

“That is the reason why they are up there, playing good football and we could not do it.

“It’s my duty, my job to find the way to come back.

“I give credit to Aston Villa, first of all. They do it. The first half we struggled to follow what we spoke [about].

“[We said] something at half-time [and] it was much better, the team had another dynamic but we didn’t find the players to make the assist, the cross, the pass.

“We arrive there but we didn’t have the feeling that ‘oh we are going to do something’. And we miss it.”

City were without the influential Rodrigo for the evening game in the West Midlands, alongside the suspended Jack Grealish and injured Jeremy Doku.

Guardiola accepts the importance of our midfield lynchpin in particular but he believes it’s up to him, as manager, to find a solution going-forward.

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“Of course he’s [Rodrigo] important but today we tried with Manu playing there, with John playing there,” added the boss.

“John made an incredible effort after a long time [out]. He’s back and played good.

“Yes give more credit to Aston Villa. They have the ability to punish you and they contact behind our players.

“They played good. We have to accept it. We have to admit it. When a team is better we have to recognise it. It’s that.

“Before when we play in a good level in the past, we were able to win, now we did not do it.

“That’s why we have to change the dynamic on Sunday in Luton and come back to our best.

“It’s my job to find a way to do it. Today is simple, the better team won. They were better, we have to accept it.

“I said to the players, in football it happens, I know you want it, I know you can do it because you proved it to me and everyone many times.

“I have to reflect on this one and try to do it.”