There will be more crucial matches for Manchester City this season, but the 2-1 loss to Brentford came at the absolute worst time.
This season, City has done a great job of bouncing back from defeats, but this time they will have to wait 47 days before they can finally forget about this loss.
Erling Haaland is the only member of Pep Guardiola’s team who will not be travelling with the rest of the team to the World Cup this week, but the Catalan and his staff may still be feeling the effects of this loss as they start their mid-season break.
Guardiola will be spending time with his family in Barcelona this week as training won’t resume until early December. Just before Christmas, City returns to action against Liverpool in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. On December 28, City plays Leeds United at Elland Road.
There will be plenty of analysis to look at what went wrong during the break, but the City manager will also take the time to analyse the first 22 games as a whole before the resumption. The City manager admitted they had failed to get a handle on Brentford tactically on Saturday, especially forward Ivan Toney.
“People go to their national team, they will be focused, it is a dream for them, it’s a World Cup,” said Guardiola.
“We have time to reflect, the staff, what we are doing good, what we could do better and, after, the Carabao Cup and Leeds, the first (league) game. And we will see how people come back.
“People say many things, the Premier League is difficult, we are going to try to come back good and fight for that.”
On December 5, City is anticipated to fly to Abu Dhabi for a six-day training camp that may include a friendly.
Stefan Ortega, Scott Carson, Sergio Gomez, Riyad Mahrez, and Haaland are the only senior members of the team who are currently travelling to the competition, and they will be a part of that camp. However, Guardiola will evaluate when his international players return after they have been eliminated from the World Cup and their physical condition has been determined.
Guardiola is pleased with how the first half of the season has gone despite the fact that City are now five points behind Mikel Arteta’s team in the race for the title after Arsenal’s victory on Saturday night.
“It’s been good. Before today. We go with that feeling that we lost, it’s always more difficult, but that’s the reality of this competition,” he said.
“We finish [qualify] in the Champions League and the Carabao Cup we’re through and the Premier League we’re close to Arsenal who have been really, really good. And now we will be a little bit behind but it is what it is. So the second part of the season will dictate how we are, how we are playing to do it.”
Arsenal are looking increasingly likely to be involved in the title race, having won 12 of their first 14 Premier League games. Guardiola admits they have been the best team in the league so far this season but is hopeful his side will be involved in the race in the New Year.
“I don’t know, hopefully we can be there. We will try. Now we come back, all the people come back, and after we try to see,” said Guardiola.