Champions League

Pep: We forgot to attack, to play

2018-03-08 07:43
Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Pep Guardiola criticised his Manchester City side following their 2-1 defeat to Basel on Wednesday, but said he was very happy to make the last eight of the Champions League.

The Blues went through 5-2 on aggregate after Gabriel Jesus’ early goal was overturned by strikes from Mohamed Elyounoussi and Michael Lang to hand City only their fourth defeat of the season.

"We forgot to attack, we forgot to play, we passed the ball for the sake of passing the ball. Passing the ball means to pass the ball to move the opponents to attack, but to pass for the sake of passing is nothing. In the second half it was really, really poor."

Nevertheless, Guardiola was happy with the outcome.

"We are very happy to be in the quarter-finals again because that gives prestige," Guardiola said.

"We did an almost immaculate group stage, knocking out one of the best teams in the world in Napoli and Shakhtar and we had a very good first leg and a good first half tonight.

"We were just lacking in the same feeling in the second half [tonight] which wasn’t good.

City brought in six players following the weekend’s 1-0 win over Chelsea, and Guardiola admitted the changes may have affected the team.

"You will find in all the clubs in the world that when you make six or seven changes, always the team is not the same,” he said.

"From tomorrow we’ll be happy to be in the quarter-finals for the second time in this club. We are so happy for that. You have to be at a very high level to reach the semi-finals which is what the competition demands of you. We will try and we will compete well.”

The Spaniard also reserved praise for 17-year old Phil Foden, who became the youngest ever starter in a Champions League knockout match.

"It was good," Guardiola said of Foden’s appearance. "In the second half, maybe him with Leroy [Sané] he was the only one who was aggressive, who tried to do something with the ball and go forward. Leroy was the same.”

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