Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Saturday said that his side’s 3-2 loss to Liverpool at the FA Cup semi-final would be a learning experience for stand-in goalkeeper Zack Steffen, whose mistake in the 17th minute allowed Liverpool to race to a 2-0 lead.

Speaking about his team’s dismal performance in the first half after the match, the City boss said, “We started well but after one set-piece, where Liverpool are so strong, and the second was an accident, it was tough. Then we conceded a third in the last minute of the first half.”

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“It was an accident. One of the strong points is try to play [out] and as a keeper he has this quality,” Guardiola added, commenting on Steffen’s mistake.

“It was an accident and he will learn for the future. When the ball is there it can always happen. It was an accident and he will learn for the future,” the Spaniard reiterated.

“I have spoken with the team, not him personally but he is strong,” Guardiola added, commenting on Steffen’s state of mind after City’s treble hopes were shattered at Wembley.

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Speaking about his team’s performance in general and defending his team selection, the Spaniard said, “I have a lot of confidence in my players and selections. I trust a lot of them. We had a terrible run of fixtures and travel and a lot of important games. That’s why we needed fresh legs.”

“We’ve had Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, Liverpool in a short time. We can rotate some players but we know when we arrive at this stage of the season and you are fighting for the titles there is no time to rest,” Guardiola concluded.

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Indeed, the season is heating up and City have a packed schedule. After their exit from the FA Cup, the Premier League leaders host Watford in the mid-week in a league tie.

With Liverpool facing Manchester United in the mid-week, the Watford tie is the perfect opportunity for City to capitalise on the possibility of Liverpool dropping points against Ralf Rangnick’s side and extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table.