Mikel Arteta can further establish himself as a potential successor to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City

James Robson
Serious candidate: City will be in safe hands when Guardiola serves his touchline ban on Wednesday: PA

Mikel Arteta gave a consummate performance - and that won't have gone unnoticed by Manchester City's hierarchy.

The man who came so close to filling the void left by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal in the summer is a serious candidate to one-day succeed Pep Guardiola.

On Wednesday night at the Etihad, he can further strengthen his credentials when deputising for the suspended Catalan as City kick off their Champions League campaign against Lyon.

And if the Spaniard is half as accomplished on the touchline as he was during his pre-match press conference, City will be in safe hands.

Guardiola chose not to carry out his media duties on Tuesday after being sent off in the quarter final defeat to Liverpool in April.

City's manager will not be allowed any contact with his players or staff before or during the match, with Arteta taking charge.

If the former Everton and Arsenal midfielder is feeling the nerves - he wasn't showing it.

Easing into his seat to field questions about his own future and City's credentials to win club football's biggest prize, he was totally at ease.

Whereas Guardiola has spent two years playing down the club's prospects in Europe, Arteta was frank.

(AFP/Getty Images)

"For me we have the best players in the world and I look at our players as if they are the best," he said. "I look at the players, I see how they behave, how they react. The positives, negatives, their qualities and weaknesses.

"I wouldn't change my players for any others. They are absolutely fantastic, the hunger is this group is incredible.

"People talk about money to spend. But people have to look inside this club, what we have created, it's phenomenal."

Arteta added: "We have a very young squad. They've gained a lot of experience in the last two years with the different things that have happened in the Champions League and we feel we are better prepared.

"But in the Champions League winning or losing is more detailed. We are preparing every detail to improve what we've done in the past.

"We believe we can do better and [on Wednesday] everything starts. A new competition and we know how hard it is to play against the teams in Europe."

Arteta ultimately missed out to Unai Emery in his bid to take up his first role in management at Arsenal.

The 36-year-old remains intent on going out on his own - but that chance may yet come at City.

The Premier League champions are so determined to stick to the philosophy put in place by Guardiola that they will consider appointing from 'within' when he eventually walks away.

Patrick Vieira, who was a coach at youth level and manager of sister club New York City FC before taking over at Nice in the summer, is considered a potential candidate, having been schooled in the 'City way.'

But Arteta could find himself at the head of the queue, if still part of Guardiola's backroom team, due to his close working relationships with the current squad and his pivotal role in last season's title triumph.

Addressing his potential summer move to Arsenal, Arteta said: "The decision was made and I am so happy the decision was made.

"I am privileged to be where I am. I feel very fulfilled with the job i am doing at the moment.

"If you ask me the question, one day in the future will I be a coach and the answer is probably yes. But I am really happy where I am and really enjoying the moment I am living.

"We have a fantastic momentum and there is still a lot of room for this club to grow - so I am very pleased with where I am."

And Arteta believes he is receiving the best apprenticeship possible under Guardiola.

"He allows everyone to express themselves," he said. "He is very detailed. We come from Barcelona, I've known him a long time, with the same mentality, philosophy. We click together really well.

"He had a very clear role for me when he asked me to join because I was in the Premier League for 15 years.

"We knew each other from before, but we clicked really quickly and understand each other really well and we think in the same direction.

"My learning in the last two years has been incredible alongside him and the players and staff. That will continue always."