The truth behind last night’s defeat to Barcelona was three crucial mistakes by the Blues after what had been an encouraging performance.
The healing process has already begun and City are still masters of their own fate in the Champions League group stages, so all is not lost.
We begin with some words of comfort for Claudio Bravo who, prior to his sending off, it should be remembered made two fine saves from Neymar and Luis Suarez.
One man in particular had sympathy for the way his evening ended as ESPN write: “Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has backed former teammate Claudio Bravo to bounce back from his poor display in Manchester City's 4-0 loss at the Nou Camp.
“Despite Bravo's error against his old club, Stegen feels that the City stopper will not be overly worried, as he continues to adapt to life in England.
‘Bravo and I talked about other things, but in the end these are things that happen -- that's life for the goalkeeper,’ Marca reported Stegen as saying.
‘This happens sometimes but [n the long term there is no problems for him or for his team.
"Until the red card we had problems. At first it was a very difficult match, but we were finally able to make a lot of goals. For us it was very good.’”
FourFourTwo continue the theme that the difference between the teams wasn’t as great as a somewhat flattering 4-0 score-line suggests.
They write: “In the end, Barcelona against Manchester City wasn’t about the difference between Luis Enrique and former Barca boss Pep Guardiola, but Lionel Messi.
“The Catalans boast the world’s best player, City’s Catalan manager doesn’t. Messi scored a hat-trick; each of the goals coming after City had lost possession in dangerous areas. Barca, spearheaded by the fit-again Messi making his first start in a month, were not slow to punish them.
“It was the Argentine’s 37th hat-trick, his second in two games in the Champions League this season. Messi has scored 50 goals in 50 Champions League home games. He also won an 86th minute penalty, which Neymar saw saved by replacement goalkeeper Willy Caballero.
“It was a curious encounter, with both sides down to ten men after second-half red cards for City’s Claudio Bravo and Barca’s Jeremy Mathieu. Barca lost two of their defenders, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba, to first half injuries, while Sergio Aguero, City’s best player, didn’t enter the pitch until the 79th minute when the game was all but over. Aguero was told on the afternoon of the game that he wouldn’t play, with Guardiola preferring Kevin De Bruyne in a false nine role.”
The Mail lament that Lionel Messi will continue to be the scourge of English (and every other European club) until the day he retires as they report: ‘‘Maybe one day he will think: Okay I want to go play somewhere else,' said Pep Guardiola of Lionel Messi on the eve of Wednesday night’s 4-0 win for Barcelona.
“English football can only hope. Until such a time as he decides that there is somewhere better for him to be playing than the Nou Camp in front of 90,000 supporters or someone better to be playing alongside than Luis Suarez and Neymar he will stay at Barcelona.
“And as long as he is at Barcelona, whoever their manager is, he will be the scourge of English teams.
“He has now scored 16 goals in 15 games against Premier League opposition and City hiring the man who knows him as well as anyone has made no difference at all.”
Finally, Phil Neville has backed Claudio Bravo.
When asked on the BBC if City will win more than they lose with Bravo in goal, former Manchester United defender Phil Neville said: “Yes. Definitely. He plays passes into midfield that some midfield players in the Premier League can’t play themselves.”
We’ll be back tomorrow with more gossip, rumour and opinion…
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