Pep Guardiola laments ‘terrible’ Premier League trait and picks out two tactical keys against Real Madrid

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has declared that he is happy to have gotten a 3-3 draw against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, meaning their Champions League quarter-final will be decided at Eastlands next week.

He was asked after the game whether it was a missed opportunity to have not taken a win, having been a goal to the good going into the final 10 minutes. Curiously, Carlo Ancelotti lamented Real Madrid’s missed chances at 2-1 to Real Madrid.

“No, it’s the Bernabeu, dear friend. You are English and you don’t know what it’s like to play at the Bernabeu. They have the quality, not just legs, to make these transitions very effectively. Scoring three goals at the Bernabeu is very good.”

His biggest complaint was in fact the state of the Bernabeu pitch. As he continued completing his media duties, Guardiola perhaps hinted at the some of the key differences between the 4-0 last season and the draw, including Ferland Mendy being back at left-back, the area from which two of their goals came from at the Etihad in that famous win.

“He is more of a defender than Camavinga, who played there in the second leg last year,” he remarked to Diario AS.

Guardiola did admit being surprised by Real Madrid lining up with Vinicius Junior more central, and Rodrygo Goes on the left, but also reasoned that it was very hard to prevent them counter-attacking. He also picked out Toni Kroos for special praise.

“It’s never impossible, but it’s very difficult, so you try to minimise it. They have the ability to dribble, shoot… and then there is Kroos, who moves the team in a way that only he can. A tie. Let’s go for the return leg.”

One of the key differences between the teams was the difference in rest between the two sides, with Guardiola’s City playing twice since Los Blancos last took to the pitch.

“I come back feeling very good, very good. We have achieved an incredible draw. The Premier League is terrible in terms of not resting. They have had nine days to prepare for this game and we were busy with many things there. They are legends. My players are legends. They have spent seven years every day without saying that they are tired. They make me feel very proud. I’m happy to be able to play the second leg in Manchester and that it’s open. Because if we win 2-3 here, the game would still be open. We need to win and we will.”

In terms of the game more generally, he felt City improved much more in the second half, which they won 2-1.

“In the first half, we were very safe with the ball, but we had losses against a very dangerous team. But, the second half was brilliant. There is a risk when you attack like crazy and grant what they want. Three against one, four against one… it’s impossible. We played smart. We attack in the right place. In the end, Phil put it in the top corner and Josko too.”

Tags Champions League Eduardo Camavinga Ferland Mendy Manchester City Pep Guardiola Real Madrid Toni Kroos
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