Pep Guardiola thanked his entire squad after revealing how a tactical switch at half-time helped secured Manchester City their place in a first-ever Champions League final.
Riyad Mahrez struck twice as City produced a superb all-round performance to beat 10-man Paris St Germain 2-0 on the night at the Etihad. The Paris-born winger struck in each half, adding to his effort in the first leg, as the Premier League leaders completed a 4-1 aggregate victory.
PSG threw plenty into attack as they attempted to chase the tie in unexpectedly icy conditions. But Mahrez’s second just after the hour proved a killer blow.
As in the first leg, PSG lost their composure in the latter stages. Angel Di Maria was sent off for a petulant stamp on Fernandinho after the ball had run out for a throw-in.
Speaking after the game, Guardiola told BT Sport: “It is for all of us and the club. I’m incredibly proud and my first thoughts are with the players who didn’t play today. They all deserved to play, everyone has made a contribution and now it is time to enjoy it.
“We have to win the league and we have two or three weeks to prepare for the final.
“They put a lot of players in the middle. We struggled a lot in the first half to high press and we changed at half-time.
“We recovered the ball better in the second half. It was much better in the way we played and 4-1 on aggregate against a team that beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich and it means a lot to us.
Composure the key for City
“They win every year the league, they are a team built to win, they fought to the end. They a huge team but we were so so composed.
“We fought together and we’re in the final of the Champions league and those are nice words.
“People believe it’s easy to arrive in the final of the Champions League. Getting to the final now makes sense of what we have done in the past four or five years.
“Every day these guys have been consistent and this is remarkable. We scored a goal through the hips in the first game, and today Marquinhos hit the bar in the first half – you can be out for little details.
“United won a title because of John Terry’s slip and in the last minute against Bayern Munich. Real won a title against Atletico in the 93rd minute. It’s a competition that is so difficult and something in the stars is involved in that.”