Manchester City gave in to Champions League stress, Pep Guardiola admits after Real Madrid loss

Pep Guardiola admitted his Manchester City gamers gave in to the stress of trying to win their first Champions League title after their unimaginable stoppage-time collapse in opposition to Real Madrid.

City had been inside minutes of reaching consecutive finals earlier than substitute Rodrygo scored twice to ship the semi-final into extra-time, with Karim Benzema scoring the winner after getting fouled for a penalty. 

Guardiola says his gamers had been devastated within the Bernabeu dressing rooms and should now regroup to complete off the Premier League marketing campaign and preserve their one-point lead on the high over Liverpool. 

“Yeah [it was cruel], we were close but at the end we could not reach it,” stated Guardiola. “We didn’t play our greatest however within the semi-final the gamers really feel the stress that they wish to do it. We had been shut. Football is unpredictable and like this and we have now to simply accept it.

“Yes, they are sad. We were close to reaching the final of the Champions League. Now we need time to process and come back with our people at home.”

Real didn’t have a shot on the right track heading into stoppage-time and Riyad Mahrez had prolonged City’s lead, with Jack Grealish then lacking two probabilities to place the tie to mattress.  

“We didn’t suffer much,” added Guardiola. “It is straightforward. In the primary half we did have a superb recreation, we weren’t adequate however didn’t undergo a lot however after the aim we had been higher and located our tempo. 

“The players were comfortable on the pitch. It wasn’t like they attacked and attacked in the last 10 minutes and we suffered. It was not the case. They put a lot of players in the box, all of them, and they scored from two crosses.”

Madrid have now arrange a last later this month in Paris in opposition to Liverpool, who they beat in 2018 when Mohamed Salah was injured early on when he was focused by Sergio Ramos. “We have a score to settle,” wrote Salah on his social-media platforms on Wednesday night time. 

Real supervisor Carlo Ancelotti, having gained the Spanish title on the weekend, was at a loss to how his staff acquired via, though says he by no means admitted defeat. 

“It’s really difficult to say why. It is the big history of the club and to keep going when it looks like it is gone. It is true, the game was close to finished and we were finding the last bit of energy we could,” he stated. 

“Psychologically we were better in extra time. I didn’t have time to ever think we had lost the game. City had good control of the game but the last opportunity we were able to go to extra-time. I am really happy to be there in the final but we are used to it.”

Thibaut Courtois, whose save to disclaim Grealish was essential, felt his aspect had been out of the competitors heading into stoppage-time.  

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