Manuel Pellegrini pointed to David Silva’s first half injury as a turning point in Manchester City’s Champions League semi-final first leg with Real Madrid.
Silva was withdrawn before half time and the game finished goalless but the ex-Madrid Coach believes that without the Spain international, his side’s attacking threat diminished.
“I think we played a very intensive game, defended very well and we tried to create until Silva was injured. After that we lost the ball too much. We couldn’t create clear chances but if you can’t win I think the best draw is 0-0,” he told BT Sport, later confirming Silva was unlikely to be fit for the return leg next week.
“We thought they would play a slow game, that’s why we pressed very well, we worked as a team to have the ball. Unfortunately for us when we had the ball we couldn’t make the difference, we had two or three not clear chances, but we had options.”
It was put to Pellegrini that City often do better away from home and he agreed with the assessment of his team, and explained why the first leg was a little more cautious than expected.
“Especially this season we’ve played very well away, we’ve beaten Sevilla, we beat [Dynamo Kiev], drew with Paris Saint-Germain so we go to Santiago Bernabeu with the same attitude, exactly the same to play away or at home,” he continued.
“We’ll have more space, Madrid must attack more. You never know what is good playing first at home. You can’t take too many risks because playing away is so important but now we’ll see in the second leg who will play the final.”