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Guardiola celebrates UCL qualification

EL SENOR: Pep delivers some tactical advice

EL SENOR: Pep delivers some tactical advice

Pep Guardiola once again paid tribute to the spirit of his players after they secured UEFA Champions League qualification.

Fabian Delph’s second half header was enough to give City a 6-0 aggregate win over Steaua Bucharest at the Etihad Stadium.

The City boss was disappointed that his side struggled to create clear-cut chances in the first half despite swathes of possession but was encouraged by the build-up play demonstrated after the break.

Pep told journalists: “After a short time we made a very good two games so we are ready definitely for the Champions League. The players and the club deserve it. We were the better team in Bucharest and we were the better team tonight.

“There were too many people behind the ball in the first half. We were not making the right decisions. We had Stones, Kolarov and Fernando against one player. That does not make sense.

“In the second half, we were much, much better. I’m finding we’re having a lot of possession in the first halves of games but not creating enough - I don’t like that.

“The build-up is the most important thing. If you pass, pass, with no chance, it's no good. They [Steaua[ didn’t press high, they stayed back - we have to play it quickly to open up spaces and in the second half, we were much better.

“They had ten players behind the ball so it’s not easy but we attacked with more intensity in the second half. The spirit was again amazing so now is the day to celebrate our qualification for the Champions League.”

ALL TOGETHER NOW: Stones leads the celebrations

 

Joe Hart captained City in his first start of 2016/17 and was paid tribute to by supporters inside the stadium throughout the match.

Guardiola admitted that leaving Joe out of the first three games of the season was a difficult decision but emphasised that making tough choices is part and parcel of managing the club.

“Joe is still our player,” the Catalan underlined. “I know he’s a legend for this club - one of the reasons this club is what it is, is because of Joe. He helped to make this team one step above so I’m so happy with the way the people treated him tonight.

 “I’m here to take decisions - I make a lot of mistakes all my career as a coach - sometimes good decisions, sometimes bad. I can’t deny what I feel. I was honest with Joe, the club and myself and that’s what I always try to do.

“I would like if everyone was happy with all the decisions I take but that’s impossible.

“The coach has to take decisions which influence the players’ lives and that’s not easy. We have 28 players, so 17 players are always not playing. Do you think they are happy with the coach? They are not happy about that.

“I can completely understand if the fans are not happy. Joe did a lot with this club in the years he’s been here, more than I have done - I’ve only been here for one month, he’s been here many years.

“I respect all of the guys here but I’m here and I have to take decisions and that’s what I feel.”

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