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UEFA Champions League

Guardiola: Man City ‘won’t be able to win’ in Madrid without focus

Pep Guardiola 

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says anything less than a focused 90 minutes from his side will not see them through to the Champions League final following their 4-3 win over Real Madrid.

City jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first leg of the semi-final on Tuesday, thanks to goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus.

It felt like it could have been more, but anytime Guardiola's team threatened to smash the tie up, Madrid responded with a goal.

With Casemiro expected to return for Madrid, Guardiola believes City will have to be at their best to reach the final in Paris in May.

“Regardless of the result, if it was 2-0 or 3-0 we would still have to go to the Bernabeu and play well. If we play like we did in the second half, we won’t be able to win,” Guardiola said.

“If we play like we did at other periods, we will. We want to be there to put on a good show, this is what I want to tell my players to do – don’t think of anything else.

“When I became a footballer and a manager, when you go to the Bernabeu you have to perform as yourself or there is no option to win. You have to come through these situations to win the Champions League.”

City was similarly vulnerable in the second leg of the quarter-final encounter against Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano, holding a one-goal advantage.

They could have still won the game, and possibly the tie, against Los Blancos. An furious Guardiola berated Riyad Mahrez for not squaring to Phil Foden in the first half, highlighting the stakes and the razor-thin margins on the field.

The 51-year-old took some solace in the fact City managed to get into those positions, but conceded they need to realise those kinds of opportunities at the Bernabeu.

“We miss them but we create them,” he said. “We were there all the time. No complaints about the result, the performance, anything. I am so proud of the way we perform in front of the world.

"With the ball and without the ball, we did everything we could to win with courage."

"Football is football, and the outcome is the outcome, but our performance is extraordinary." Nobody can deny that the performance was excellent. We are aware that we may need to boost our level in order to reach the final, but this competition requires it. Finally, it's possible that the opportunities we create will have to be converted."

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Casemiro Gabriel Jesus Kevin de Bruyne Madrid Manchester City


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