Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City failed to control Ivan Toney, whose two goals gave Brentford victory over the champions less than 48 hours after he missed the cut for Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad.
City’s reverse was a first in the Premier League at home since February, ending a 20-match run, and leaves Guardiola’s side in second place on 32 points before the break for Qatar.
“The better team won – Toney’s exceptional for them,” he said. “We had a lot of problems. We could not make a high press because they did not allow us – long balls from the keeper to the striker and in this process we could not win any balls because when Toney flicks the ball on he creates problems.
“He’s very good, he’s able to win [duels] with all the central defenders, we were not able to control this aspect. Every time a centre-back jumped they suffer.”
Toney, who has 10 league goals this season, was asked about missing out on the World Cup. “It’s disappointing but, listen, I know what I’m capable of and I won’t let it put me down. I just keep going and keep doing well for Brentford.”
The 26-year-old insisted Southgate’s decision had not affected his approach to the game. “The motivation is the boys in the dressing room and the fans, as you can see,” he said.
A delighted Thomas Frank said: “He should have scored five goals – he had five good chances: one in [the] first half, then he scored then he missed one from angle, scored a goal and then missed the last one. Honestly, what a player.
“Gareth picked the squad he believes in but I hope he thinks about Ivan if there is an injury. He proved it today against the best team in the world. Of course him and I both think he should be there but we’re looking from our side and Gareth from the other side and we don’t know who’s right.
“Ivan has a very good family around him. I’ve known him for so long, I have no doubt he’ll come back stronger. I showed my empathy [to him].”
Frank described Brentford’s win as the best in their history. “Maybe this is the single best result. It’s massive. For the fans, I’m so happy we’ve created another unbelievably magic moment for them. The dressing room were fantastic scenes.
“We are the bus stop in Hounslow [as Bees fans sing] against the best team in the world.”