Men's Team

Guardiola: No words can console players after Real Madrid loss

Pep Guardiola says he has not spoken to the Manchester City squad since our Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid, as he admitted there is nothing he can say to console them after our agonising exit.

Riyad Mahrez’s strike had given City a two-goal aggregate lead heading into the 90th minute at the Bernabeu, but two late efforts from Rodrygo forced extra time, where Karim Benzema’s penalty sent the Spanish giants through to face Liverpool in Paris.

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Guardiola now has to pick his squad up ahead of Sunday’s game against Newcastle United, which is another crucial clash in our bid to lift the Premier League title.

Whilst the boss concedes there is nothing he can say to soften the disappointment of Wednesday’s loss, he says he will remind his players how good they have been ahead of the Magpies visit to the Etihad Stadium.

"We didn't speak,” he said at his pre-match press conference

“No words can help for what all of us feel. It is just a question of time, sleep as well as possible and think of the next target.

“Tomorrow will be the first day we are together and we are going to talk about who we are as a team, what we have done in the semi-final.

“How good we have been, not just in these two games, but all season and try to do it over the last weeks.

"It is probably one of the moments since I am manager I am most proud to be in this club and organisation until the last day we are here we give everything together.”

It is now onto another huge game for City, who will be aiming to maintain our advantage over Liverpool at the top of the table by taking all three points against Newcastle.

Guardiola says his players will be prepared for the challenge of Eddie Howe’s men, but believes it is inevitable the Champions League defeat will be on his team’s mind when they take to the field on Sunday.

However, the Catalan boss has no doubts his players will be ready to perform at the Etihad Stadium and believes holding onto the memory of that difficult defeat will help his side in the future.

“We have recovered,” he added.

“We will be better tomorrow. It’s football, we accept it.  We have a big challenge - especially this week. We have the Premier League season in our hands.

“They don't have to forget, how do they forget? We'll play Newcastle thinking of it. For sure.

“I know the players in the training sessions, meetings, warm-ups, how committed they'll be. I have no doubt.

“For 89 minutes, 0-1, they were close. Real Madrid has done it for many years, they have this belief, for the history.

“We could have been better but it's not easy. Momentum, circumstances, because we play against Real Madrid.

“It might happen next season against Barcelona. Hopefully we will be there, Bayern Munich will be there. We have to prove it again there.

“I won't tell them to forget it. Still, I have here Tottenham, one inch Raheem to score a goal to play against Ajax. Still, it's there.

“I would not judge the players, they have to judge themselves but my opinion of them doesn't change because I know how difficult it is [to be in the final].

“Give me an explanation of what happened - it's football. 22 players moving with the ball, with emotions, good things, bad things, mistakes, at the end, after extra time. That's it.”

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