Premier League English

Time needed for Manchester City players to process capitulation against Real Madrid, says Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has frankly admitted that he is unsure how Wednesday night’s capitulation to Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinal will mentally impact Manchester City.

Crushed after the loss, with several players lying disparaged on the Bernabeu turf, City threw away a two-goal lead in one of the most dramatic matches in Champions League history.

Real will now go on to face Premier League giants Liverpool in the final later this month in Paris, while a disconsolate City are now left to be content instead with concentrating on lifting a fourth Premier League title in five years and not chance throwing away the slight advantage they have now to bitter rivals Liverpool. The Sky Blues face Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

“This will have a positive impact on the Real players,’ Guardiola said. On us? I don’t know. We need time now. We have to do it with our people.

“The players gave everything. We were so close but we couldn’t do it. In the history of football this happens. With the people supporting them it’s more difficult.

“I had defeats in the Champions League, at Barcelona and we could not reach the final, but there’s no doubt it’s hard for us.

“We need time to process that and come back with our people at home for the last four games. The players are sad.”

Guardiola admitted candidly his side’s performance in the first half was greatly lacking and left much to be desired but said his squad’s failure to accomplish their mission was ‘normal’ as the players were feeling the pressure.

“It is simple. In the first-half we did not have game, we were not good enough,” the Catalan added.

“But we did not suffer much. After we scored the goal we were better. We found out tempo and our game and the players were comfortable.

“It is not like in the last 10 minutes they attack and attack and you suffer. It didn’t happen. They put a lot of players in the box, with [Eder] Militao, Rodrygo, Vinicius, [Karim] Benzema and they put in crosses and scored two goals.

“We didn’t play our best, but it is normal, a semi-final, the players feel the pressure and wanting to do it. Football is unpredictable, it is a game like this. We have to accept it.”