Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City, has replied to criticism leveled after his team’s spirited 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal on Tuesday. Given their recent record, Guardiola dismissed the idea that City should have won easily and instead praised his team’s performance in a closely contested game against one of Europe’s top teams.
In a thrilling, equally matched contest, Kevin de Bruyne’s goal offset Vinicius Jr.’s opening score. Guardiola expressed his happiness with the outcome, noting that City now has the chance to complete the job at home in the second leg despite Real Madrid’s strength and experience in the competition.
Guardiola stated, “We were better when they scored, but then they were better when we scored,” in a post-game interview with BT Sport. The game was very close. The semi-final against Real Madrid is always a challenge. We showed up, we had some positive moments, but given their quality both on and off the ball, it’s challenging. The championship game is on Wednesday, and we’ll play in front of our own supporters. In addition, he offered his team’s performance as a whole, saying, “We started really well in the first half, but then they made a lot of passes; they are really, really good at that. But after Kevin scored a really good goal for us, we enjoyed ourselves. They had a few decent opportunities.
When asked if City was anticipated to win by a wide margin, Guardiola responded, “If you expect us to come here and win by six goals, it’s your problem. Madrid is the expert on this competition. He also praised Carlo Ancelotti’s team for their strength in defense, which kept City from scoring more goals.
Additionally pleased with his team’s performance, Ancelotti said, “Defensively we were very good. Rudiger performed exceptionally well against Haaland, the midfield effectively covered the area in front of the defense, and we handled the ball well in the second half. Sometimes the outcome doesn’t reflect your efforts, but your performance was excellent, and you should be proud of yourself.
City midfielder Jack Grealish praised his team’s resilience and character, saying, “To go a goal down is always difficult, playing at a place like this and to go a goal down, I think in the end it probably was a fair result. They had their chances, we had a few as well. I really enjoyed it tonight, man. I loved it.”
Overall, Guardiola was pleased with his team’s performance and praised Real Madrid’s quality. The result sets up an intriguing second leg, with both teams still in with a chance of progressing to the final.