• Friday, Jun 18, 2021
  • Last Update : 09:28 pm

Guardiola's Man City finally crack the Champions League code

  • Published at 01:06 pm May 5th, 2021
Guardiola
Pep Guardiola and Ilkay Gundogan

Man City are unbeaten throughout their entire Champions League campaign this season, winning 11 games and drawing just once

Manchester City finally cracked the Champions League code with an impressive 2-0 win over Paris Saint Germain on Tuesday, the 4-1 aggregate triumph earning them a first ever spot in the final of Europe's elite club competition.

After stumbling in the latter stages of the Champions League in his four previous campaigns with the club, Guardiola dropped his usual focus on the tasks ahead to reflect on banishing the one major question mark over his stewardship of the club.

"To reach the final of this competition is so difficult," he told reporters.

"It is the toughest one, the quality of the opponent and the composure you have to have to suffer the toughest moments."

Those moments had proved too tough for City in each of the past four seasons.

Last season's 3-1 quarter-final loss to a very beatable Olympique Lyonnaise followed defeats to Tottenham, Liverpool and Monaco in the Champions League knockout stages.

"It remained in my head for weeks and it was painful, I cannot deny," Guardiola said recently.


Also Read: Mahrez double fires Man City into Champions League final


Many had wondered whether the Spaniard's obsession with the competition had led him to overthink games or transmitted nerves to his players, but this season was different.

City have not sneaked into the final or battled through against the odds, they have marched to Istanbul by winning every knockout game -- home and away.

Indeed, they are unbeaten throughout their entire Champions League campaign this season, winning 11 games and drawing just once.

Throughout the Guardiola years, City have produced some glorious attacking football but also, especially in Europe, some shaky defensive displays.

This year, though, they have combined the flair in the final third with a rock solid defence that has conceded just four goals in the Champions League so far.

The addition of Ruben Dias, the Portugal central defender signed from Benfica, has proven to be a masterstroke.

The arrival of the 23-year-old has transformed City in the same way that Virgil van Dijk gave Liverpool the solidity they were lacking before their Champions League triumph two years ago.

Teenager Phil Foden, cautiously introduced into the side by Guardiola, has come of age during this campaign, effectively replacing Raheem Sterling in the attack.


Also Read: PSG players claim referee swore at them in Man City defeat


Riyad Mahrez, who scored both goals on Tuesday, has flourished, while Ilkay Gundogan has come out of his shell to become an all-round midfielder.

City's exits in Europe have all featured moments when they have let the game get away from them -- losing their cool, their shape and their focus.

But this season there has been a solidity and maturity that is so vital at the highest level and both in Paris and at home, City were firmly in control.

"In big occasions there are going to be nerves. We have to control that. You put the pressure on yourself," said right-back Kyle Walker, reflecting on the earlier exits.

"You go back to Anfield and throwing it away in the first leg. The second year we are at Tottenham and lost in the first leg before chasing it here.

"Last year, it was different, over one leg - a proper cup game. To finally get the victory over there and then come here and win is full credit to this squad."

Chelsea or Real Madrid await but whether it is an all-English final or a clash with the 13-times winners, City will start as favourites -- and justifiably so.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail