Schalke 04 manager Domenico Tedesco believes his side need to learn to be “cleverer” after losing possession frequently in their 3-2 Champions League defeat to Manchester City.

The Royal Blues went a goal down early on Wednesday night through Sergio Aguero’s 18th-minute opener for City.

But VAR intervention saw things swing into Schalke’s favour at the VELTINS-Arena when Nicolas Otamendi was deemed to have handballed in the area from Daniel Caligiuri’s shot.

Nabil Bentaleb slotted in the penalty-kick to put the hosts level before scoring another on the verge of half-time after Fernandinho fouled Salif Sane.

Into the second-half and things appeared to be getting even better for Schalke when Otamendi was sent-off for a second yellow card and an unlikely win seemed to be on the table against 10-man City.

But the Premier League champions refused to raise the white flag with substitute Leroy Sane returning to haunt his old club by grabbing the equaliser 17 minutes later with a superb free-kick.

Raheem Sterling then completed a stunning 3-2 comeback victory for City when he found the net in the dying moments of the match.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, a disappointed Tedesco lamented the golden opportunity Schalke failed to take in front of their home supporters.

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“Obviously, we are disappointed,” said Tedesco on the club website.

“You hope for a better result when you are 2-1 ahead so late on. The game went our way a lot today, which hasn’t happened a lot this season.

“Two penalties and red card went our way. It was fun to coach this team today. Our fans were in the game and spurred us on.

“The team found a good balance and gave their all. They won tackles, which subsequently gave us confidence. We didn’t always convert our possession into counter attacks though.

“We have to be cleverer in the coming weeks. We lost possession too many times and it’s important that we learn from this.”

The return leg between Schalke and City will take place at the Etihad Stadium on March 12.

For now though, Tedesco’s side will turn their focus back to the Bundesliga for this Saturday’s trip to FSV Mainz 06.

After finishing as runners-up last season, Schalke are currently down in 14th-place in the standings.

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 20: Nabil Bentaleb #10 of Schalke looks dejected after the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between FC Schalke 04 and Manchester City at Veltins-Arena on February 20, 2019 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images)

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