Pep Guardiola said he was proud of his Manchester City players and the Club’s supporters after our Champions League quest ended in heart-breaking fashion at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
City looked like having won a dramatic quarter-final second leg encounter when Raheem Sterling found the target in the 93rd minute to seemingly make it 5-3 on the night and 5-4 on aggregate.
However, Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir then ruled the effort out for offside after consulting with VAR, a decision that sent Spurs through on the away goals rule with tie level overall at 4-4.
It was a bitter pill to swallow – especially as there was a suggestion of handball over Fernando Llorente’s crucial third goal for Spurs.
However, the City boss had nothing but praise for his players and supporters after one of the most amazing games ever seen in the Champions League.
“I am so proud, especially of the fans for the reaction and the incredible reaction. I never saw the stadium like today,” said the City manager.
“We are sad for all of them but they know we have given everything but football is unpredictable and unfortunately we are not in the next stage.
GALLERY: City 4-3 Tottenham
“Today we make mistakes for first two (goals). Every team has quality to do that.
“What we have done in these two seasons is incredible and I am so proud. The players played to be in the semi-finals but Tottenham take the victory and go through.”
It was the cruellest possible way to exit the tournament with everyone at the Etihad believing that 93rd minute effort from Sterling had won the game before the effort was overturned after consultation with VAR.
And the City manager admitted it was a tough way to lose – but insisted he remained an advocate of the introduction of VAR.
“Yeah, it’s tough. It’s cruel but we have to accept it,” Guardiola added. “It was a nice game for everyone. Second half we did everything. We scored the goals we needed but congratulations to Tottenham and all the best for the semi-finals.
“I support VAR. But maybe from one angel the goal from Llorente is handball, maybe from the referee it is not. I am fine for fair football and fair decisions. The referee must be helped. In the future and the present, it will be fair and that’s all.”