Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said that the 4-3 verdict against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semifinal first-leg at Etihad could have been much better, but nevertheless it was a “good test to show the personality of our team”.
Guardiola’s City will take a slender one-goal lead into the semifinal second-leg in eight days’ time buoyed by the fact that it held a two-goal advantage on three separate occasions, but were pegged back each time by Real who refused to buckle on an enthralling night.
Overall, the charismatic manager said that he had no complaints after watching his side win a seven-goal classic. The narrow win leaves the tie tantalisingly poised, with the promise of more to come from the two sides when action shifts to Madrid.
“It was a good game of football, both teams have an incredible amount of quality players on the pitch with incredible personality to play,” said Guardiola. “The result is what it is, we won and now we rest and then it’s Leeds (Premier League game against Leeds United) and we are going to travel to Spain next week and try and do a good result,” said the manager on mancity.com.
“To win this competition, from my experience, is that you have to overcome situations that football gives you. It was a fantastic game for both sides. We did many good things. Unfortunately, we conceded goals and we could not score more. But two games and we have another one in one week. We played a fantastic game against an incredible team. The moments where they rise and come back into the game in the first half I think we gave them as our build-up was so nervous.
“Normally we are so safe and so good. Also they press really good and strong. All around the world and for Manchester City, we are so proud. But it is about reaching the (Champions League) final,” added Guardiola.
“The result could have been better, and you have to perform really well over two games and we’ve performed really well in the first one. It’s a good test to show the personality of our team and we travel there to try and win the game.”
The City boss also said he couldn’t be prouder of his players, who started the game superbly and, with 16 shots during the 90 minutes, undoubtedly could have scored even more goals.
“We were there all the time and had to defend well — we were there. I’m not going to complain about the result and I’m not going to complain about the performance — nothing. I am so proud and so incredibly happy at the way we performed. We did everything we could to win and had courage with and without the ball. Now we recover and hopefully arrive quite well for Leeds and then head to Madrid,” he added.