Pep Guardiola: Manchester City boss admits Real Madrid’s Champions League semi-final defeat was ‘difficult’ to execute | Football news
Pep Guardiola admits defeat is difficult after Real Madrid stole a place in the Champions League final from Manchester City.
The Spanish giants created an amazing late fight in their semi-final second leg at the Bernabeu Stadium on Wednesday to win 3-1 on the night and win 6-5 on aggregate after extra time.
City took the lead 5-3 on aggregate after Riyad Mahrez scored the first goal of the night in the 73rd minute but Rodrygo responded with a lightning brace in the final minutes of normal time.
Then, Karim Benzema settled for an intriguing draw with his third goal, from the penalty spot, in the fifth minute of extra time.
The result has brought Real to its final day with Liverpool in Paris later this month and prolongs the long wait of Man City, last year’s runners-up, for European glory.
City manager Guardiola said: “I’ve had defeats in the Champions League, I’ve had tough defeats against Barcelona when we didn’t reach the final.
“But it was difficult for us, I can’t deny it. We are very close to the Champions League final.
“The first half we didn’t play well, we couldn’t find the game. The second half was much better and after the goal, we controlled the game.
“We found our game but unfortunately we couldn’t finish. The players gave it all. We were very close.”
Real have put in a remarkable performance this season as they also came from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the knockout stages.
“It has happened many times in their history,” said Guardiola, whose side must now regroup ahead of a crucial Premier League game against Newcastle this weekend.
“This is going to have a positive effect on the Real Madrid players but I don’t really know about us. We weren’t affected much until they scored, but we didn’t play at our best. “
Ancelotti: Real’s history keeps us going
Real, who are bidding for a record-long 14th European championship, beat Liverpool in the 2018 final.
The two sides also met in the 1981 match, also held in Paris and won by the British side.
Real boss Carlo Ancelotti, who last year managed Liverpool’s neighboring side Everton, said: “The game was almost over but we were trying to find the last of the energy we had. .
“We played well against a strong opponent, we equalized, we had the psychological advantage in extra time.
“I can’t say we’re used to this kind of life, but what happened tonight happened to Chelsea and also to Paris.
“If you have to say why, it’s the history of this club that kept us going when it seemed like we were gone.
“I’m very happy to be in the final, in Paris with another great team. It will be a great match for football.”
Analysis: How does Man City recover from this?
Sky Sports’ Adam Bate
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What followed was inexplicable, a strange thing happening but the fact that Real Madrid continued to do it. This is their night but what is the rest of Manchester City’s season? It’s something that seems far-fetched in the Spanish capital but will require a quick return.
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There are no shocking omissions, his setup is neither as aggressive as in 2018 nor as cautious as in 2019. He tweaked the system and was eliminated by Lyon in 2020. He made a Some people are surprised to ask Ilkay Gundogan to do Rodri’s job in the post-finale season of the year.
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Instead, Guardiola had to lift his players, refocus on them knowing that the trophy they had forsaken again – the one they craved – was gone for another year. All they can do now is maintain their standards, hoping a domestic title will suit them. Easier said than done.