The Catalan manager watched as his side were held back at home by the visiting Bees led by Thomas Frank. Castaway England striker Ivan Toney opened the scoring in the 16th minute for Frank’s side, who worked well to stave off the constant City pressure as they searched for an equaliser for the rest of the first half.
Phil Foden popped up with the equaliser in first half additional time to reset the game going into the break.
The second half saw much more pressure from the hosts, who were unable to connect with their star man Erling Haaland, kept at bay by the brilliant defensive trio of Ethan Pinnock, Ben Mee and Matthias “Zanka” Jørgensen.
Eventually, Brentford, who had a few breaks of their own and had a clear goal cleared off the line by Aymeric Laporte, found themselves in acres of space in the 98th minute. Yoane Wissa, Josh DaSilva and Ivan Toney attacked City with Haaland and Ilkay Gundogan racing back to provide defensive support.
It was not enough when DaSilva squared the ball for Toney, who beat his mark to score the winner and his second of the night.
City will now go into the World Cup break five points off the top spot. Guardiola, who oversaw City’s loss to Brentford at the Etihad for the first time in over five decades, admitted that his visitors were the better side on the afternoon.
“The better team won,” said Guardiola in his post-match press conference. “We had a lot of problems and we could not press as they didn’t allow us. In this process when they gave it to the striker we could not do it.
“When Toney flicked the ball on while playing through the middle he created problems.”
Guardiola, however, praised his team for their performance in the second half but pointed out their failure to deal with Brentford on the break, which led to the visitors’ late winner.
“We saw in the first action and the first 15 minutes they had two clear chances.
“After that we played better and played a bit quicker. We started the second half well but every time they break with long balls we could not do it.
“It was quite similar last season when they were here. We struggled to create as their structure defensively is so deep they force you to go outside and they defend crosses really well.”