Pep Guardiola said Manchester City failed to properly execute their “process” and was keen to praise Wolves after his side’s 100 per cent start to their Premier League title defence ended with a 2-1 loss at Molineux.
City went into the contest looking to make it seven league victories at the start of a campaign for the first time.
But the treble-winners were condemned to defeat by Hwang Hee-chan’s 66th-minute finish, eight minutes after an early Ruben Dias own goal had been cancelled out by Julian Alvarez’s free-kick.
Thanks for your support, City fans ?
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 30, 2023
City boss Guardiola, who watched from the stands as he served a one-match ban for picking up three yellow cards, said: “Congratulations Wolves, they defended really well.
“We had our moments. We didn’t do properly our process, to attack (with) a little bit more fluidity and that’s why we struggled a little bit.
“And the transitions – (Pedro) Neto (who was key for the first goal) was better than us, so they beat us in that situation.
“When they defend that well, (Mateo) Kovacic or Ruben has to attack central defenders of the opponents and we didn’t do it, that was why it was more difficult.
“The opponent played really good, defended really well, and after, when they contact with the players up front, they had the ability to keep it and drive and dribble and drop you. They are so strong.
“Today some details didn’t happen, because it’s football, because the players, it happens, maybe I apply bad some decisions, I don’t know.”
City’s starting line-up included Matheus Nunes, signed from Wolves last month, with it reported that he had stopped training with the midlands outfit ahead of the move.
The Portuguese was the subject of boos and chants from the crowd during the first half before being brought off at the interval for Oscar Bobb.
Guardiola said, when asked why he had made the change: “I needed more dynamic. Oscar is really good to find in small spaces, the creativity he has.
“That was the reason why – not because he wasn’t playing not good at all. It’s just because I thought Oscar could give us something different.”
On having to watch from the stands, Guardiola said: “The view is perfect. The problem is when you are banned and you are in the hotel. But they allow you to be here…in the Champions League it cannot happen.
“I spoke before the game, half-time and after the game. During the game you can be involved in something, but not much.”
Wolves boss Gary O’Neil – whose side had four points from six games going into this one and are now up to 13th – said: “We worked hard on it for three days with the players and the game looked exactly as we’d prepped for really, which is helpful.
“We sort of predicted Man City would use that structure they do quite often.
“Of course you still need to ride your luck a little bit, they have some fantastic players, but in terms of the game looking exactly as we prepped for and the lads carrying out the gameplan perfectly – with discipline and understanding, some quality as well – I thought it was a really impressive from the boys.”
— Wolves (@Wolves) September 30, 2023
When asked if it was the best result of his managerial career, he added: “I guess so. I think they all feel big at the time.
“It’s just over a year that I’ve been doing it. If you beat the best team in the world, or possibly the best team ever, it’s obviously a big result.
“But in terms of what it means for the team and the club, it’s just three points – an unexpected three points against the team that will probably win the league again, but it’s three points and we reset and need to get ready to go again.”