Kevin De Bruyne says that Atletico Madrid's "5-5-0" formation was the time he's ever seen a team set up like that, with Stefan Savic promising the Spanish giants will "go to score goals" in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.
City will take a narrow 1-0 lead to Wanda Metropolitano after a frustrating first leg at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night that saw them struggle to break down Atletico's stubborn rearguard.
De Bruyne's 70th-minute strike ended up being the difference between the two sides, but he expressed his frustration over the visitors' set-up after the final whistle.
What's been said?
"Teams play very defensively [against us] but today, for the first time, I see a team playing 5-5-0," the Belgium international told TNT Sports.
"No strikers. So it's very hard to find the spaces."
De Bruyne added: "In the second half we had more chances and luckily we scored one, but we also didn't give anything away and in that aspect, we played a really good game."
City boss Pep Guardiola echoed the midfielder's sentiments in his post-match press conference, adding: "We sensed that they would play 5-3-2, then they adjusted and they became 5-5.
"In prehistory, today and in a hundred thousand years it is very difficult to attack a 5-5, there are no spaces."
Savic defends Atletico's tactics
Atletico didn't record a single shot at goal over the course of the 90 minutes as the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix spent most of the evening pressing while City dominated possession.
Savic shone in the heart of Diego Simeone's defence, and felt their gameplan was successful despite the defeat.
“We never like to lose. We're not happy because we lost, but in the end it's not a bad result, we played at City's home and they didn't have so many clear chances," the Atletico centre-half told Movistar.
"They had possession but I think we lacked a bit of legs in the final third, we had some attacks with Griezmann or Joao that we could have finished better. I'm calm because we have 90 minutes left in our stadium."
Savic also promised that Atletico will be more adventurous in the return leg as they seek to turn the contest around and reach the last four.
“When you defend so low it's not easy to get out, we had two or three [counter-attacks] that we could have done better with, but we lacked legs," he said.
"At home it will be different, we have different needs, like scoring goals and we will go to score goals."