‘No cheering’: Manchester City players were calm after PSG win, says Guardiola | Manchester City
Pep Guardiola praised Manchester City’s aggression and passion in Paris after they came from behind to win the first leg of their Champions League semi-final 2-1.
City were overrun by an impressive Paris Saint-Germain side in the opening 45 minutes and entered the interval trailing to Marquinhos’s header from a corner. Yet Guardiola’s men dominated following the break, as Kevin De Bruyne’s cross sailed into the net to level things up before Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick punctured the Paris wall and handed City another vital away goal.
PSG ended the match all at sea after Idrissa Gueye’s 75th-minute red card for a late challenge on Ilkay Gündogan.
City will head into the second leg at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday with the comfort of two away goals and Guardiola was delighted with the response to a difficult first period at Parc des Princes.
“In general we were shy in the first half. Everyone played safe, not having the personality to go play [as we can]. But in the last 10-15 minutes we were so good – we were more aggressive without the ball,” Guardiola said.
“The second half was much better – we regained the ball quickly. That is not easy because they made a good buildup and got Neymar, Ángel Di María and Marco Verratti in behind us. But we were aggressive and, with the ball, passionate.
“We found the goals and wanted to score more. But it is just half of the job done. The equation is simple: if we play shy and not who we are everything can happen and PSG have the quality to turn it on. But if we play the way we played in the second half, maybe we will have the chance to reach the final.”
The manager warned the return leg next week will not be easy. “I’m sure the second leg will be different because Mauricio Pochettino will learn. I was happy that in the locker room afterwards the players were so calm. No cheering. Now we go to Crystal Palace [on Saturday] with an incredible opportunity to [win] the Premier League and three days later try to play a good game against PSG again and reach the final.”
While City have to beat Palace and hope Liverpool defeat Manchester United on Sunday for them to be champions, Pochettino insisted his team can turn the tie around. “In football you need to believe. We go there in six days and will approach the game the same as tonight. Of course Manchester City have the advantage but you have to try.”
Of Gueye’s sending off, Pochettino said: “It can be a yellow card or a red. I do not want to complain about that.”