Guardiola shrugs off ugly Kyle Walker red card and names City positives
Pep Guardiola was happy to focus on the positives, despite a unnecessary Kyle Walker red card at Leipzig bringing Manchester City’s Champions League group games to a sour end.
The Blues have made light work of what looked like a difficult Group A that also contained PSG and Club Brugges. Indeed, they secured first place ahead of PSG after matchday five. As such, they travelled to an empty Red Bull Arena – played behind closed doors due to soaring Covid rates in Germany – knowing top spot was already in the bag.
However, after ringing the changes, City put in a disjointed display with hosts Leipzig good value for their win.
After going 2-0 down to goals by Dominik Szoboszlai and Andre Silva, City found a route back into the game through Riyad Mahrez.
However, their chances of snatching a point evaporated when Walker lost his head, kicked out at Silva to earn an obvious red.
That means the full-back faces at least a one-match ban in the knockout stages – a fact that will irk Guardiola.
Nonetheless, the City boss was happy to look to the positives following the loss.
City progress already secure
Indeed, he was quick to praise his players for having already got the job done.
“In the first half we lacked rhythm,” Guardiola said. “We had problems to contact and they have a really good team – we knew from before the group stage,” he continued.
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“The second half was much, much better but unfortunately we made one or two mistakes and they punished us. We played better in the second half. We were more aggressive, we played to win the game and we lost. Congratulations to Leipzig.
“We made an incredible group stage, we qualified with one game left from a tough group. So I am more than satisfied with the performance in every single game. Then in February, hopefully we can arrive in the best condition possible.”
Guardiola provides Foden, Ake injury updates
City finished the game with injury concerns around Phil Foden, who went off at half-time, and Nathan Ake. The Dutchman was withdrawn late after sustaining a back injury.
Guardiola though did not seem too concerned – and insists City will know more on their return to Manchester.
“Nathan has a problem with his back – we will see tomorrow,” said Guardiola.
“Phil had problems in the beginning of the game with his ankle. He struggled a little bit so he was taken off as a precaution and we put Raheem in his position.”
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