MANCHESTER, ENGLAND -- Pep Guardiola has defended his players after Manchester City's surprise 2-1 home defeat to Lyon in the Champions League and says they have nothing to apologise for.
The City boss was banned from the touchline for the game and watched from the stands as his side conceded two first half goals before Bernardo Silva pulled a goal back in an improved second half.
Many of his players have taken to social media to apologise for the result and while Guardiola admitted they started slowly, he told a news conference that they have nothing to say sorry for.
"The players don't have to apologise, why should they apologise, for what?" he said ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with Cardiff City. "They ran, they fought, they tried to make a comeback but this competition punishes the mistakes you make.
"We made a lot of mistakes and when we did that they punished us. But they don't have to apologise, they put everything there. Of course, I was banned, I have to accept it but the next game I will be there.
"We didn't play badly. It wasn't the best performance but we didn't play badly. In the first half it was a little bit slow. They didn't create too many chances and in the second half we were better.
"It's this competition. I insisted many times that it's completely different to the Premier League."
City are among the favourites to win the competition in June but Guardiola, who won lifted the trophy twice as Barcelona manager, insists his players are still getting accustomed to playing in Europe.
"Still we have to learn to try to play these games -- I need to help the team better than I did in the past, to try to find a way," he added. "We made an exceptional group stage two seasons ago and last season was amazing.
"I have to find a way to be more solid because if not we won't go through. The other teams are so good, it doesn't matter who you play. I saw Hoffenheim vs Shakhtar and they are so good."
City sent a record 16 players to the World Cup with seven players making the last four, which finished just three weeks before their opening game of the season. But Guardiola insisted there was no signs of his fatigue in his squad.
"I don't believe in the physical condition," he said. "The mind controls everything -- what you have to do on the pitch with or without the ball.
"They are young, they train every day and we take care of them. We do absolutely everything for them. Why was it slow first half and second half we were so quick and aggressive? It could be the opposite.
"When you are tired, it's always the mental approach. Here every game is like a final -- one or two mistakes and you are out. We have a chance, with five games [still to go.]"