KHARKIV (Ukraine) • Pep Guardiola insisted his side "needed to lose" after Manchester City tasted defeat for the first time in 227 days.
The Premier League leaders' unbeaten run in all competitions this season ended with a 2-1 Champions League defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.
The result was actually of little importance for City, who went into the game having secured top spot in Group F.
Guardiola, despite making seven changes to his starting XI ahead of Sunday's Manchester derby, still did not enjoy the outcome. But the City manager was still delighted with the performances of second-string players, including England under-17 World Cup winner Phil Foden.
At 17 years, 192 days old, Foden was handed his first senior City start in an unfamiliar left-sided role, becoming the youngest Englishman to start a Champions League match.
"It hurts, it is never nice to lose a game," Guardiola said after taking charge of his 100th Champions League tie.
"I was (however) feeling we needed to lose - for the players, for the club. In the media, people say things when you win and you can forget how to focus."
Goals from Bernard and Ismaily sent Shakhtar on their way to the last 16 before a Sergio Aguero stoppage-time penalty halved the deficit at the Metalist Stadium.
After Paulo Fonseca's men became the first side since Arsenal (in the FA Cup semi-final on April 23) to put City to the sword, the Shakhtar manager honoured a promise to conduct the post-match media briefing dressed as Zorro.
"This is the most joyful press conference I've ever had in my life," the Portuguese, who last month vowed to don the iconic masked vigilante's full regalia of hat, mask and cape if the Ukrainian side progressed to the knockout stage, said to laughter.
"I feel great joy. I think not only Shakhtar's supporters but also all Ukrainians have to be proud of our team."
All eyes will now turn to Old Trafford on Sunday when City take on city rivals Manchester United.
"We have said many times we cannot win all the time, we are going to lose games. Today was the first," said Guardiola.
"Now we have to recover. It's another competition, the Premier League."
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS