Pep Guardiola has vowed that Manchester City will “come back stronger” from their Champions League defeat by Chelsea.
City boss Guardiola was forced to defend his surprise selection call by opting to not field a defensive midfielder in Saturday’s 1-0 loss in Porto.
Ilkay Gundogan featured during a deep role, with Fernandinho and Rodri overlooked in what proved a costly roll of the dice.
Guardiola insisted he had made the simplest possible turn the night at the Estadio do Dragao, but his await a private third Champions League crown will now run into 11 years.
The city fell at the ultimate hurdle in their maiden Champions League showpiece battle, with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and therefore the departing Sergio Aguero visibly distraught in defeat.
“It was an exceptional season for us, it had been a dream being here,” said Guardiola.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t win. I attempted the simplest selection to win the sport. The players realize it. I feel Gundogan played well and that we were exceptional.
“If now we analyze the sport we are sad. Congratulations to Chelsea. But we’ve to find out from this, and that we will learn for the longer term.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t win, but we’ll come stronger for the longer term .”
Guardiola’s domestic success with City is much beyond reproach, with the club having completed a Premier League and Carabao Cup double this term.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel still believes City is the team to catch when it involves the Premier League, even despite the Blues’ Champions League triumph.
But Guardiola was delivered to City in 2016 with the clear mission of conquering Europe, which quest continues.
The Catalan coach insisted on Friday that City’s set-up provides a manager with “everything he needs” to achieve success.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has two years left on his contract and is decided to remain at the helm.
And when he gets back to figure after the close-season break he will doubtless be dipping into the transfer market.
The major summer transfer sagas of Harry Kane and Erling Haaland will loom large, with City determined to recruit a blue-chip goalscorer.
Aguero leaves the club and therefore the Argentina star could easily be followed out of the door by a variety of first-team regulars.
Guardiola insisted his players delivered everything that was asked of them barring the victory in Portugal and can not be close to making any drastic alterations.
But the 50-year-old will surely need to remodel the deeper half of his midfield this summer, with 36-year-old Fernandinho likely nearing the top of his City tenure.
Further forward Raheem Sterling has seemed to dip down the hierarchy despite starting the Champions League final and Riyad Mahrez has been linked with a move far away from the northwest.
“The season was exceptional, I even have incredible respect for the players,” said Guardiola.
“They did everything; they gave everything on the pitch.”