Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola admitted 'the better team won' as his side fell to a late 2-1 defeat to Brentford in their final Premier League game before the World Cup break.
Ivan Toney put the Bees ahead in Saturday's early offering before Phil Foden pulled City back level on the cusp of half-time. But despite their spells of possession and protests for penalties, Brentford burst forward in injury time for Toney to win it at the death.
City, for all their possession, failed to truly carve out any clear cut chances and stretch Brentford's defence which remained resilient.
Guardiola gave his verdict to BT Sport post-match, explaining his team struggled to cope with the visitors: "The best team won, we struggled from the beginning and we couldn't deal with their long balls. Usually, you press the balls to win it but this was different."
He added: "They defended so deep and so well. We didn't have the dynamic today because we were dictated by long balls that we were losing. The game was so difficult, it was so tight. They did really well in the plan they had and were better."
Guardiola refused to be particularly down by the defeat, though, insisting his side have done 'exceptionally' in both the Premier League and the Champions League so far this season.
But losing against Brentford means they will head into the World Cup break second in the Premier League table, with Arsenal now able to open up a five-point gap at the top that will remain until after Christmas should they secure a victory against Wolves on Saturday evening.