Men's Team

Guardiola reveals admiration for his team after second-half masterclass  

Guardiola reveals admiration for his team after second-half masterclass  
Pep Guardiola has spoken of his admiration for his players after their outstanding second-half performance in France saw us establish a 2-1 first-leg lead against Paris Saint-Germain in our Champions League semi-final.

City were somewhat inhibited during the first 45 minutes, with the home side overwhelming us with their pace and quality in the final third.

The Ligue 1 side deservedly led at half-time through a Marquinhos header – but City were sensational in the second period, scoring twice through Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez to put ourselves in a strong position ahead of Tuesday’s second leg at the Etihad.

Guardiola says he told his players at half-time he understood their cautious approach but encouraged them to open up and show their true identity.

The turnaround was stark and he says our second-half display was just what he wanted to see.

“It looks easy but it’s not easy,” he said. “I played when I was young and it’s not easy.

“PSG scored four goals in Camp Nou and three goals against Bayern Munich. They have the quality to do it.

“You play cautious sometimes, but in a good sense.

"I was not complaining. I said at half-time, I understand why they were like this but try to play our game. Go out there and try to do it.

“They were fantastic. I admire them going from not playing good to playing well, it means a lot.

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“Normally when you are not good, you lose 3-0 and it’s over.

“When you play knock-out stages, semi-final first leg, the players are thinking about not losing.

“You can’t win qualification in first leg - but you can lose it.

“So, I understand the players. Sometimes you feel not comfortable.

"But we spoke at half time and adjusted a few little stupid things, not important things.

“[The turnaround] depended on the players.”

WATCH: PSG 1-2 City: Match highlights

The result puts City firmly in the driving seat to reach our first-ever Champions League final.

But PSG showed enough quality during the first half to remind everyone the tie is far from over. 

Guardiola has warned against complacency, highlighting PSG’s quality on the counter, and says he wants to see his side play with personality from the off in the home leg to give us the best chance of progressing to the final in Istanbul. 

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“They are so incredibly dangerous with [Kylian] Mbappe in behind,” he said.

“But we found the goals and could have scored more.

"Just half of the job is done. If we play shy and not who we are, anything can happen and PSG can turn it on.

"But if we play who we are, maybe we have the chance to reach the final.

 I was happy in the locker room after the players were calm. Not cheering - just calm.

"Anything can happen in the second leg.

"Now we go to Crystal Palace to make important step in the Premier League."

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