Pep Guardiola and Manchester City seem to be grabbing all of the momentum and expectation as favorites in the Champions League as they continue to dominate two competitions.
The latest was a 2-0 UEFA Champions League second leg win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday
“We only conceded one goal against Porto. That is impressive,” Guardiola said. “It’s an incredible step forward for the team. Everyone runs a lot, not just the strikers. But it’s important to understand that we defend with the ball. We have to be aggressive without the ball. All the teams right now, the quality they have, they can punish you.”
Up 2-0 after the first leg, Kevin De Bruyne scored a sensational goal and then Ilkay Gundogan made it 2-0 in the 18th minute off a Phil Foden feed.
That made the Premier League leaders relax a bit, in some ways a bit too much, but ultimately City was a comfortable and well-deserving winner.
“The start helps a lot,” De Bruyne said, via the BBC. “We were patient in the beginning and when we scored the two goals, it gave us a little bit of cover knowing that they need to come a bit more. The second half was a little less but that’s understandable with all the games we’ve played. With a 4-nil aggregate lead, it was a little bit less.”
“This competition is tricky but after the two goals everything was easier,” Guardiola said. “They we played was really really good. Everyone in his position moved the ball quick. When they close inside we have the options wide with Phil and Riyad. And when they are wider, we go inside. A lot of players with good quality as they don’t lose the ball. Three left-footed in Riyad, Phil, and Bernando Silva, they give the ability to make extra pass. Everyone was so committed and we are delighted to be in the next stage.”
That brings us to Friday morning’s draw for the rest of the tournament, as Guardiola will learn the obstacles between him and his first European Cup won beyond the walls of Barcelona.
City has bowed out at the quarterfinal stage of the last three tournaments, losing to Liverpool and Tottenham before last season’s one-off loss to Lyon. Sometimes the hurdle can be mental, as City cut Real Madrid out of the tournament the round before Lyon last season.