Sports

‘We were close to Champions League final’

by Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola has lamented the devastating outcome of the Wednesday Champions League semi-final clash against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernebeu The Trumpet gathered.

The City gaffer, whose team at 89minutes still had a 2 goals lead over Madrid, having secured a 3-2 win at the Etihad in the first leg, never thought the home team could put up a shocking fightback.

Guardiola, signed by Khaldoon Al Mubarak in 2016 from Bayern Munich to help the Blues of Manchester secure their first-ever Champions League trophy, fell to his sixth elimination in the semi-finals like Jose Mourinho, the most for any manager in history.

The City boss in a post-match interview undeniably agreed that the game was tough despite getting close to the finals.

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He, however, accepted that the defeat resulted from the inability of the Sky Blues to perform in top form.

More so, Guardiola conceded that Madrid exploited the option of packing the 18 yard-box with attacking-minded players while crossing the ball simultaneously to pressurize the Manchester City defence.

“It is tough for us, I cannot deny,” Guardiola to BT Sport after the loss on Wednesday.

“We were so close to the Champions League final.

“Now we need to process that and come back, with our people at home and in the last four games we have.”

“They put a lot of players in the box, with Eder Militao, Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema and they put in crosses and scored two goals.

“We didn’t play our best, but it is normal, a semi-final, the players feel the pressure and want to do it. Football is unpredictable, it is a game like this. We have to accept it,” he added.

Manchester City return to England to concentrate on the Premier League title hunt with four games remaining to end the season.

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp is on the trail to leapfrog Pep Guardiola on the top spot before the season’s end, which depicts Liverpool’s focus on finishing the season with a quadruple.

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