Pep Guardiola names three Man City players who made Wolves loss ‘more difficult’

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Guardiola watched from the stands as City lost at Wolves

Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City lacked “fluidity” in the 2-1 defeat to Wolves on Saturday and picked out three players whose performances made life more difficult for his side.

City were beaten in the Premier League for the first time since May – a 1-0 defeat to Brentford on the final day with the title already wrapped up – and just missed out on a club record of seven straight wins to start a top-flight season.

A Ruben Dias own goal gave Wolves a first-half lead before Julian Alvarez equalised with a free kick just before the hour mark. Hwang Hee-chan popped in the winner in the 66th minute as the Citizens’ lead at the top of the table shrunk to a point.

Guardiola revealed key functions were not carried out by midfielder Mateo Kovacic and defender Dias, while he also explained why Matheus Nunes was brought off at half-time against his former club.

The City boss said: “We didn’t do our process properly to attack with a little more fluidity and that’s why we struggled a little bit in the transitions.

“When the opposition defends that well, Kovacic or Ruben has to attack the central defenders of the opponents – and we didn’t do it. That’s why it was more difficult.

“But it was always going to be a difficult game and we knew it, and they defended really well in all situations.

“The players know exactly what they have to do, they have done it I don’t know how many times since I’ve been here. This always makes it more difficult.”

Guardiola was watching on from the stands rather than the touchline, having picked up a suspension after being booked three times in the opening weeks of the season.

On Nunes’ withdrawal, he added: “I needed more dynamic and I wanted more in the small spaces and Oscar [Bobb] is really good at finding those with the creativity he has.”

City’s defeat makes their clash with title rivals Arsenal next weekend all the more interesting. The Gunners won 4-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday and are a point behind, level with Tottenham after Liverpool’s controversial defeat in north London.

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