Mikel Arteta might have enjoyed the opportunity to sit in the hot seat for Manchester City when the Premier League champions opened their UEFA Champions League season at home to Lyon on Wednesday, but he sure didn’t like the result.
[ RECAP: Man City 1-2 Lyon ]
With suspended Pep Guardiola watching from the stands, Man City went behind 2-0 to the French visitors. The champs could muster one second half marker in a loss at the Etihad Stadium.
Arteta said he couldn’t say whether the game would be different with Guardiola on the touch line, but doesn’t think the loss comes down to his absence. From ManCity.com:
“We missed the right pass and didn’t find consistency,” he said. “We felt under threat every time we lost the ball, that can bring the confidence lower. We were ready for the game, keen to start to Champions League because the way we ended it last season really hurt.
“The players are not perfect, sometimes they have bad days, sometimes better. I can’t fault the effort. I won’t judge them because we lost.”
He’s finding more positives than his players when it comes to the day’s mettle.
“We started slowly, and we were inconsistent in the way we wanted to play,” Arteta said. “We lost too many duels. We gave the ball away in difficult circumstances and they scored twice, but after that, the reaction from the lads was superb. We tweaked a few things to control situations better and we created chances, but at this level, it wasn’t enough.”
John Stones was at the back for both of Lyon’s goals, and admitted that halftime hit the players hard.
“Really disappointing,” he said. “To concede two goals like we did is very frustrating,. We came in at half-time a bit deflated. We picked ourselves up and played a better second half but it was frustrating.”