Mauricio Pochettino urged his Paris Saint-Germain squad to retain belief after they lost the first leg of their Champions League semi-final to Manchester City.
PSG started the semi-final strongly and took the lead through a Marquinhos header. However, City turned things around in the second half when Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez scored in a seven-minute window. Things got even worse for Pochettino’s side when Idrissa Gueye was sent off.
Pochettino will take his troops to Manchester next week knowing they need to score at least twice. But the ex-Tottenham boss does not think they are out of it just yet.
Even so, he knows how tough City are and felt let down by the way their goals went in.
He told BT Sport: “There were two different halves. We did well in the first half but it is difficult to eliminate a team like City.
“We deserved to be ahead but they were better than us and dominated the second half. The two goals were accidents, but they created more than us. It was one half for each team.
“The two goals are very disappointing. It is difficult to accept but that can happen, and it has happened in a semi-final. It is very painful.
“It is difficult to explain why they were better but we were better in the first half. It was difficult to cope, their physical condition, they were more aggressive. We didn’t show the energy you need.
“The red card could be yellow, could be red; it was an action.
“In football, you need to believe and go there in six days and try to approach the game like today, try to win, to score goals.
“Of course, the advantage is a little bit with Manchester City, but in football always you need to try.”
PSG reached the final under Thomas Tuchel last season but will have work to do if Pochettino is to repeat that feat.
The second leg will take place at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, City boss Pep Guardiola explained the differences between their performances in either half.
He told BT Sport: “We started really well. We felt pressure after conceding. Sometimes we have to do more touches.
“A lot of people, it was the first time in the semi-finals and wanted to do it well.
“The last 10 minutes was good. In the second half we were excellent in every department. Two away goals. We have a hard job in six days.
“Sometimes you need to be more relaxed and be ourselves. The first half is normal – 180 minutes, you don’t want to lose the ball, you don’t play free. We changed a little in the way we press.
“We were passive [earlier on]. Then we were more aggressive. It’s not easy against Mbappe, Neymar, Di Maria. Afterwards we found goals and could have scored another.
“I’m so satisfied with the performance but we’re only halfway. There are 90 more minutes. PSG are a team, anything can happen.”