Manchester City’s shock Carabao Cup exit to Southampton on Wednesday night suprised everyone except Pep Guardiola.
The Premier League champions were dumped out in the quarter-finals with a 2-0 defeat to Saints, who are rock bottom of the top-flight.
Superstar duo Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne started on the bench, but Guardiola doubts whether a full-strength side would’ve won the match.
Refusing to make any excuses, the City boss said: “Who knows whether with Kevin and Erling it would have been different? I don’t know it.
“We tried to do our best and we rotate the team when we played against Chelsea after the Premier League and it’s good.
“I understand how this business works. Always we try to have everybody involved and everybody has to do it but today was not the case.
“I had the feeling today it doesn’t matter what line-up I am selecting, we are performing this way. Don’t ask me why. This is my experience.
“It doesn’t matter today the line-up we choose, it would happen because we were not here. And that’s why when this happen, they deserve it.”
City failed to have a single shot on target as goals from Sekou Mara and Moussa Djenepo ended the game within the opening 28 minutes.
Guardiola added: “The best team won. They were better. We had a bad night and we didn’t play good.
“We didn’t perform well and to win games – I’m not talking titles – you have to deserve it.
“When I win something I want to deserve it and today was not the case, that’s why Southampton deserve to be in the semi-finals.
“Today was not even close to what we are.”
talkSPORT BET OFFER OF THE DAY
Get up to £25 in free bets + 25 free spins* – CLAIM HERE
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet up to £25 (min. £10) on selected events at odds of 2.00+, in 7 days. Get up to £25 in free bets on selected events + 25 Free Spins on D10S Maradona slot. Bonuses expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs apply, see below. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly