Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola recognizes that a 2-1 first leg win over Borussia Dortmund is far from the wrong end of the UEFA Champions League results, but he clearly wasn’t happy with a lot of what City did on Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium.
When asked about his feelings after Phil Foden rescued a win after Marco Reus’ late equalizer threatened to give Dortmund the power heading to Germany, Guardiola didn’t exactly expound upon his club’s virtues.
“It is what it is,” he said.
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When asked whether Dortmund’s late goal, built-up by City-esque incisive passing between Jude Bellingham, Erling Haaland, and of course Reus, was a blow to the tie as opposed to 1-0, Guardiola said:
“Of course it is [a blow] but we reacted well. In the final stages all the teams are so good and it’s so difficult. …. We are going to watch the game, we know exactly what they do, we will adjust a few things and go there to win the game,” Guardiola said.
Kevin De Bruyne, scorer of the first City goal and Man of the Match by most accounts, referenced the concession in a harsher way.
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“Probably should have scored a bit more but when they make it 1-1 there was a shame,” he said. “It happened, they are a good team. The reaction was really good to get the win. Okay, 2-1 is a tricky score but at least we’re ahead for the second leg.”
Guardiola, however, is keeping the relative letdown of the day in perspective. While Dortmund’s performance in the first half was similar to the second, City produced far more shots and a few more quality chances in the second half.
“We win 27 games of 28, then Leeds, then to Germany to try and win the game. … We are going there to win the game. The only way to try to go through is to win the game.”
Guardiola was also asked about the pressure of being involved in the race for four trophies, but distanced himself from the idea.
The City boss said the club being involved in the four competitions and playing well, given all of the COVID-19 pandemic’s challenges on normalcy, is superb.
“The pressure is when you don’t win a title, when you are far away from the Premier League and qualification for the Champions League,” Guardiola said. “If we had not won any title, the pressure would be incredible but with the condition in the world where you cannot live your life as you’d like, [how we’ve performed] is incredible.”