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Guardiola: Plenty of positives to take

OPTIMISTIC: Pep Guardiola hailed the displays of his young Blues, after the friendly against Dortmund...

OPTIMISTIC: Pep Guardiola hailed the displays of his young Blues, after the friendly against Dortmund...

Pep Guardiola focused on the positives, following City’s pre-season opener against Borussia Dortmund.

The Blues fell to defeat in the International Champions Cup at Soldier Field in Chicago, courtesy of Mario Gotze’s first-half penalty, as the Premier League Champions bloodied a youthful XI with the majority of the senior squad on holiday after their World Cup exploits.

The encounter heralded impressive debuts all around for several young players and for new recruit Riyad Mahrez, who went close to marking his first start with a goal. Leroy Sane also featured, having joined up with the squad on Wednesday.

Reflecting on the clash, Guardiola told press: “Of course, we prefer to win the game but we know what is going to happen in pre-season.

“We had just one week or ten days together – most of the team played together for the first time.

READ: Mahrez makes debut in pre-season opener

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“It was really good for their futures because we played one of the best teams in Germany and we did many good things. We spoke during this week and the courage, intensity and desire to play was very good. I'm so satisfied with the guys.

“In some minutes, we started well. After, we had a few problems. We missed the ball in some situations and they used the counter-attack.

“I saw many good things. Luke Bolton is a winger but played at right-back today for the first time. He won all the duels against Jadon Sancho and these players – he did it really well.

“Douglas Luiz was with us for the first time and Jason Denayer is a right-footer, who played on the left. Eric Garcia is 17 or 18 and played like he is 24 or 25 and Riyad played good in his first game.

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“It will be a good experience for them (the young players) to realise they can compete (at senior level) and play well. That is the most important thing in that period and then as soon as people come back, we will know what we need for the first games against Chelsea and Arsenal.”

Sane, who controversially missed out on Germany’s World Cup squad selection, was introduced from the bench. Guardiola explained that his winger was not fully match fit.

“Leroy Sane arrived two days ago,” he added. “We needed some minutes to start and put his head on the field and fight and run. He was ready to play 15-20 minutes but no more than that.

“All the players did very good things. We of course prepared to win but it's normal (not to win games) in this part of the season – it just prepares the team. They are coming back step by step.”

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