The club’s decision not to get involved in a bidding war with local rivals Manchester United for Alexis Sanchez despite long-standing interest, and even though Guardiola had previously worked with the Chilean at Barcelona, was another vote of City’s confidence in their all-time top goalscorer.
“We were just lacking in the same feeling in the second half [tonight] which wasn’t good”.
City recorded 978 successful passes in defeat, the most by any side in a Champions League since records began, but Guardiola criticised his players for “forgetting to play” and passing for passing’s sake.
But it was Bernardo Silva who Man City fans were talking about, the Portuguese playmaker continuing his fine run of form with another impressive display. “We got into some good positions and we were running full pace but still we couldn’t beat them”, Benitez said. Indeed, it was an opportunity missed for many trying to stake a claim in the starting line-up and Basel deserved the win. Record-signing Laporte will also face criticism.
The Brazil striker was in the right place at the right time for his goal, though, tapping in from close range at the far post from Bernardo Silva’s low, teasing cross.
Teenager Foden featured alongside Yaya Toure – 17 years his senior – in midfield but the duo struggled to retain control of the contest, although City took an early lead on the night. Subs: Adarabioyo N/A, Diaz 6. Basel regularly threatened through Elyounoussi from the left, and the raw pace of Dimitri Oberlin through the middle. Subs: Stocker 5, Wolfswinkel 5.
“It’s not easy to play [with a 4-0 advantage]”. In the second half we just passed the ball to pass the ball. And it’s a lovely goal, too. Blas Riveros worked his way into the box before slipping the ball to Elyounoussi, who took one touch before firing in the equaliser. Bravo had no chance.
There were no chance they were going through, but Basel were looking for a third goal to make things just a little interesting. It will either work out great they’ve rested well for this fixture.
They also have one foot already in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, after establishing a 4-0 first-leg lead over Basel.
“We are very happy to be in the quarter-finals again because that gives prestige”, Guardiola said.