Years from now when, as a number of good judges expect, Mikel Arteta is an experienced and distinguished head coach, he will look back on his maiden Manchester City news conference with a wry smile.
There is a knack of talking to the assembled media before a big game without actually saying anything, without causing a fuss. However, with Pep Guardiola ceding press conference duties due to his UEFA touchline ban, Arteta went into soundbite mode on the eve City's Champions League opener against Lyon.
"For me we have the best players in the world. I look at our players like they are the best," he said.
"I see them training every day, I see how they react to positives and negatives. I know their qualities and I know their weaknesses, and I wouldn't change my players for any others."
Mercifully for those trudging off in sky blue on Wednesday nursing a 2-0 half-time deficit, Guardiola's ban extended to the tunnel area and dressing rooms. Arteta, meanwhile, was spoilt for choice over which of the men before him he might wish to change.
Bruno Genesio's side have taken seven points from their opening five Ligue 1 games this term, yet thoroughly deserved their advantage.
Guardiola has offered regular and pointed warnings over complacency to his Premier League champions this season. The error-strewn lethargy that allowed Maxwel Cornet and Nabil Fekir to net first-half goals will probably persuade him to drop any remaining subtlety.
Aymeric Laporte and John Stones again showed the makings of a fine and enduring centre-back partnership, but mistakes spewed forth around them – left-back Fabian Delph and the normally dependable Fernandinho the main culprits.
Raheem Sterling was typically lively in attack but both Silvas, David and Bernardo, were becalmed as Gabriel Jesus joined his confidence levels on the floor with a pitiful dive in the penalty area. It was a limp display matched by disinterested home support.
The early knockings of the second half featured steady improvement but City only really hit their stride when Leroy Sane came into the fray in the 55th minute.
Sprinting to retrieve a wayward cross-field pass from Kyle Walker ensured the Germany winger was quickly up to speed with where his team-mates were at and he set about dragging them from their torpor after Ederson tipped Memphis Depay's shot on to the post.
Of course, Sane does not really drag anything. He is such an effortlessly graceful footballer. His mother is a medal-winning Olympic gymnast and that genetic inheritance serves to befuddle when the 22-year-old lithely twists and pirouettes away from opponents in full flight.
Sane squared up and dispatched Rafael Da Silva in the blink of an eye to set up Bernardo Silva's 67th-minute goal and a thudding Sergio Aguero shot came after another whizzing, twirling dribble.
The super-sub's one mistake came as he mistimed a jump from which he should have headed an equaliser, by which point Rafael had been withdrawn and Pape Cheikh and Leo Dubois were frantically doubling up on Lyon's major source of danger.
It was not to be for Sane, as he blazed over from the edge of the area with City slipping to their fourth consecutive Champions League defeat, but a rare talent's emergence from a shock World Cup omission, listless pre-season and resultant bench duty was a plus on a sorry night for Guardiola.
Some have been too quick to judge inconsistencies from a young man who just became a father for a first time. Sane's ability is beyond question and it will be called upon as City aim to match Liverpool and Chelsea's flying start at home, correct this wobble in Europe and cope without injured talisman Kevin De Bruyne.
Best players in the world? On this collective evidence, not at all. However, it would feel like a dreadful waste if Sane does not soon place himself indisputably in that bracket.
|Henry´s Monaco dumped out of Coupe de France|
|Qatar can win Asian Cup, says Sanchez|
|Tim Howard to retire following 2019 MLS season|
|Koscielny backs Bellerin to return from injury ´stronger than before´|
|Chiefs fire DC Bob Sutton after AFC Championship loss to Patriots|
|Reyes returns to Spain with second-tier strugglers Extremadura|
|Emiliano Sala: Profile of Cardiff City striker missing after joining from Nantes|
|Messi rested for Sevilla trip, Boateng set for debut|
|Nuno fined over pitch celebration in Leicester win|
|Nadal unfazed by another Next Gen opponent in Tsitsipas|
|Ulster hand lifetime ban to spectator after Zebo abuse|
|Phehlukwayo´s career-best day inspires Proteas against Pakistan|
|Bournemouth pounce for Brentford´s Mepham|
|You say all signings are controversial – Valverde defends Boateng arrival|
|Search for missing Sala plane suspended|
|Kohli and Williamson display mutual respect as India and Black Caps prepare for battle|
|Qatar 1 Iraq 0: Al Rawi free-kick books quarter-final spot|
|Ba joins Adebayor and Robinho at Istanbul Basaksehir|
|BREAKING NEWS: Tottenham´s Alli out until March with hamstring injury|
|Fit-again Joseph added to England squad|
|It is very, very serious for us - Tuchel wants midfielder in January window|
|Lakers expect Rajon Rondo back Thursday as LeBron James continues rehab|
|Atletico Madrid boosted as Koke thigh injury revealed to be minor|
|South Korea 2 Bahrain 1 (after extra time): Kim Jin-su seals quarter-final spot|
|AC Milan confirm Zapata thigh injury|
|I miss him a lot - Guardiola confirms ´clever´ Mendy back in Man City squad|
|Tiafoe wants LeBron meeting after run to Australian Open quarters|
|Cardiff continue to ´pray´ for Sala|
|West Ham fined over Burnley clash chaos|
|Knicks star Enes Kanter frustrated by reduced role|
|Kvitova getting back to her best, says Barty|
|Kvitova revels in first semi of ´second career´|
|Messi´s the best player in every world – Boateng dismisses past Real Madrid comments|
|Thunder frustrations continue against Renegades|
|Alonso vows to clear name in tax fraud case|
|Classy Nadal downs Tiafoe to set up Tsitsipas semi|
|Hoedt leaves Southampton for Celta Vigo on loan|
|Melbourne City 4 Western Sydney Wanderers 3: Hosts edge thriller with two goals in last six minutes|
|Wilder won´t even pick up the phone - Hearn not hopeful of AJ bout|
|Sala was on board missing plane, say French authorities|
|Arsenal´s Bellerin out for season with ACL rupture|
|Gatland waiting on ´concrete´ offers|
|Ronaldo accepts prison sentence and €18.8m fine for tax fraud|
|Tsitsipas: It was vital to back up Federer win|
|Awesome Kvitova ends Barty´s home run in Melbourne|
|CA rejects Thunder appeal for full points in abandoned Heat clash|
|Emiliano Sala: Concerns grow for Cardiff striker after plane goes missing|
|Harden unimpressed with refs in Rockets´ 76ers disappointment|
|Ronaldo arrives for sentencing in tax fraud case|
|Record-breaking evening ´one of those nights´ for Warriors star Thompson|
|Hazard still interested in Real Madrid but won´t rule out Chelsea stay|
|Collins moves past Pavlyuchenkova, into Australian Open semis|
|Kohli makes history with ICC awards sweep|
|Thompson sets NBA record with 10 straight made three-pointers to open game|
|76ers hand Rockets largest loss of season, Harden scores 37 points|
|Tsitsipas overcomes Bautista Agut to continue Aus Open run|
|Barcelona move a ´dream come true´ for Boateng|
|Rams coach McVay on Gurley: I´ve got to get him more opportunities|
|Butler´s sprained wrist not expected to keep him out ´long term´|
|Saints owner Benson will ´aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies´|
|Levante to take Copa case to CAS|
|It can happen – Allegri plays down Ronaldo penalty miss|
|Mavericks´ Doncic becomes second-youngest player to record triple-double|
|Yankees send Sonny Gray to Reds|
|Ashley Cole reunited with Frank Lampard at Derby County|
|Arnold ready to mix things up in 2019 Asian Cup quarter-finals|
|Arum: Joshua desperately needs to fight in the United States|
|South Korea v Bahrain: Bento optimistic of continuing unblemished campaign|
|Bolton Wanderers 0 West Brom 2: Baggies bounce up to third after tennis ball protest|
|Confident Moeen ready to shine for England in the Caribbean|