Pep Guardiola believes his Manchester City side will need a couple of days to come to terms with their Champions League defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday night.
City, after taking the lead through Riyad Mahrez, had a final spot snatched away from them in Spain as Rodrygo scored twice in stoppage time to make it 2-1 to Madrid on the night and 5-5 on aggregate to send the tie to extra-time.
Karim Benzema’s penalty then won it for the La Liga side to set up a final showdown against Liverpool in Paris at the end of this month. And speaking after the game, Guardiola admitted the defeat was ‘tough’ on his side, who he also believes will rise again.
The City boss said: “We need one or two days but we will rise, we will come up. We will have do so, with our people. We did everything we could. We were really, really close but in the end we could not do it.”
Guardiola was then asked whether the defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu was his hardest European night as a coach, and he replied: “I have had bad defeats in the Champions League before. [Such as] Barcelona against Chelsea when we played two exceptional games and couldn’t make the final. But, yeah, it’s tough. We can’t deny it.
“We were so close to reaching a Champions League final. We didn’t play that good in the first half but we were much better in the second half, we controlled the game and we found the goal. Unfortunately, we could not finish [it] when we were close.”
Guardiola then continued, saying: “That feeling that happens in football sometimes, that has happened in history, when you are leading but you get to the end and you are being dominated: that didn’t happen to us.
“We did not feel like we were under siege. We were in the lead, we had been very good in the second half and we had two [more] good chances, one of them very clear with Jack [Grealish]. They attacked with five: four forwards and Militao. But at that moment we didn’t feel that we were in trouble with the way that they attacked.
“And just as the moment when we were at our best, they found the goal. Then one minute later, they found another. They have done it lots of times in their history so it could happen to us.
“It might have been in their [minds] but not ours because we hadn’t lived that before. But that can happen. Over 180 minutes we were brilliant, but this is about who scores more goals and they scored one more than us.”
City remain one point clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table with just four games remaining.
The leaders welcome Newcastle United to the Etihad on Sunday after the Reds host Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday night.
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