Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City will not take a defensive approach when they head to Spain next week to face Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final, despite holding a narrow advantage.
City claimed a slender advantage in their semi-final against Real after a dramatic 4-3 victory at the Etihad Stadium. The Premier League leaders raced into a 2-0 lead in a pulsating first-leg encounter with goals from the irrepressible Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus in the first 11 minutes.
Real responded through the prolific Karim Benzema before Phil Foden and Vinicius Junior traded goals early in the second half.
Bernardo Silva gave City a two-goal advantage but Benzema scored a cheeky penalty – his 41st goal of the season in as many appearances – to cut the deficit once again.
Both sides spurned numerous other chances in a compelling and breathless clash that set the stage for a fascinating second leg next week.
Speaking after the game, Guardiola told BT Sport: “It was a fantastic game for both sides. We did many good things. Unfortunately we conceded goals and we could not score more. But two games and we have another one in one week.
“We played a fantastic game against an incredible team. The moments where they rise and come back into the game in the first half I think we gave them as our build-up was so nervous. Normally we are so safe and so good. Also they press really good and strong.
No change to City approach
“All around the world and for Manchester City, we are so proud. But it is about reaching the final and sometimes football happens. We go to Madrid to try to win the game.
“We went out of the Champions League to Tottenham when Llorente with the hand. Today it is a hand for Laporte. It happens. All we can do is perform as we perform.
STOP IIIIIITTTTT! 🚀
Bernardo Silva rifles the ball into the Real Madrid net after a clever advantage from the ref!
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 26, 2022
“The quality of Real Madrid is such they can punish you. What we have done with the ball and without the ball, creating chances and chances and chances I can’t ask anything else.
“I say to the players to rest. Leeds now is the most important thing and we go to Madrid to win. Both teams want to attack and have the quality to play.
“Football is a fantastic spectacle. Congratulations to Carlo and his team as they are so good. At the same time, we saw ourselves that we can be there.”
Foden rues not killing Real off
Meanwhile, City forward Phil Foden admitted the contest was a thrilling one to play in, adding: “For the fans watching it was obviously a great game of football.
“We are playing a side that have won the Champions League many times and if we give the ball away they are going to punish us. It is something we need to work on in the second leg. The tie is still on.
“It was a great game. End to end. We started really well and could have killed them off. In these games, we need to take more chances.”