Frenchman Aymeric Laporte was missing in the Citizens’ loss to the Canaries.

Pep Guardiola has insisted that Aymeric Laporte’s absence is not a major cause of concern in the light of Manchester City’s appalling 3-2 defeat against Norwich City last night. The Canaries ran riot at City’s defensive brittleness as they notched three goals within fifty minutes itself.

Goals from Kenny McLean and Todd Contwell provided Norwich a two-goal advantage at half-time. Sergio Aguero halved the deficit with a fantastic strike right at the start of the second essay. However, Teemo Pukki was quick to bag another goal at the 50th minute mark. Despite the introduction of Kevin de Bruyne as a substitute in the second half, City were unable to even earn a draw as Rodrigo scored in the 88th minute to bring up their second goal.

Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones started as the central defensive duo for Guardiola’s side in a four-man backline. They were unable to cope with the waves of intense attacking pressure exerted by Daniel Farke’s team, something, that highlighted the importance of Laporte who has been a critical figure at the back for City ever since joining them from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018.

His knee injury means that Laporte will be unavailable to play at least until the start of 2020. Yesterday’s display explored major woes in City’s defensive system, particularly the partnership of Otamendi and Stones who played together only thrice in the entirety of last season.

Regarding this, Guardiola said: “It’s a partnership that has played a lot. We’ve got Fernandinho and Rodri who can play there in other situations and it’s not a worry. Things happen.

“We didn’t expect the injury and in more than three years together John and Nicolas have played together, and thanks to them we’ve won. Laporte is injured and Kompany is now in Anderlecht, and so we cannot just analyse it off one game. We need to improve on that and hopefully we can do better.”

Guardiola’s reaction after Pukki secured Norwich’s third goal of the match somewhat summed up City’s overall performance. However, brushing it aside, the Catalan manager remarked: “I know what we are as a team, I know what we’ve done and I know what we will do again. I love my players, it’s a pleasure and an honour to be with them, but it’s a challenge at the highest level. We cannot expect to win every time and to reach over 90 points.

“We are going to have to recover, we head to Europe now, and then we will come back. We knew the quality of Norwich and we’ve had a lot of days to work on it. Conceding goals is part of football, and in the end we pushed a lot, but I must congratulate Norwich.”

Manchester City will play their next encounter against Shakhtar Donestk in the upcoming midweek. Noriwch City would come up against Burnley in next weekend’s league encounter. City’s defeat has currently opened up a five-point gap between Liverpool and them in the Premier League table after merely five matches into the season. This could turn out to be really decisive when the campaign concludes eventually.