Men's Team

Guardiola hails group stage progress despite Leipzig loss

Pep Guardiola insisted that Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League loss at RB Leipzig should not detract from what he termed City’s ‘incredible’ overall group stage progress.

Though Riyad Mahrez struck late on with a fine header, it proved a frustrating night in Leipzig, with goals from Dominik Szoboszlai and Andre Silva seeing City slip to our first loss in our Group A finale.

City were also reduced to 10-men late on as Kyle Walker was shown a straight red card for a late challenge.

But though disappointed with tonight’s result, the boss pointed out the many positives from our overall showing with City having topped Group A with a game to spare to book our place in Monday’s last 16 draw.

“We played better in the second half, (we were) more aggressive, we played to win the game and we lost it so congrats to Leipzig,” Guardiola said.

“First half we lacked rhythm, we had problems to contact, and they had a really good team, we knew it before the group stage, but the second half was much better.

“But, unfortunately, we were punished with one or two mistakes.

“We made an incredible group stage. We qualified with a game left in a top group, so we are more than satisfied with the performance in every single game.

LATE STRIKE: Riyad Mahrez gave City hope with a fine header 14 minutes from time
LATE STRIKE: Riyad Mahrez gave City hope with a fine header 14 minutes from time

“In February hopefully we can arrive in the best condition possible."

And asked whether he was concerned that we hadn’t kept a clean sheet in our six group games, the boss again pointed to the way we had navigated a tough group also featuring Paris Saint-Germain and Club Brugge.

“One never knows, sometimes we concede goals but after score more,” Guardiola added.

“Of course, it’s better to not concede goals, but the way we played all the games we played much better than the opponent except today in the first half.

“In general, we made an incredible group stage.”

And asked for his view on Walker’s dismissal for a late challenge on Andre Silva, Guardiola was unequivocal.

“It’s a red card definitely.”


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