Guardiola tells Man City how to win Champions League semi-final after brushing aside Everton
Pep Guardiola has turned his attention to the Champions League semi-final, as he told his players to “do what you have done the last four or five years”.
City know how to pounce when they smell blood. They’ve played second fiddle to Arsenal for much of the Premier League campaign, maintaining second spot behind the Gunners for months.
However, when Arsenal drew three games on the bounce in April, City were right there to take make use of that slip.
They’ve now won 11 games in a row in the Premier League, following an, admittedly, relatively pedestrian performance which saw them brush Everton aside to maintain a four-point gap to the Gunners at the top.
As was the case during their 2-1 win over Leeds United last weekend, Ilkay Gundogan opened the scoring, netting his first in the 37th minute.
Two minutes later, City were 2-0 up, thanks to Erling Haaland’s 36th league goal of the season.
Gundogan bagged his second of the game early on in the second half, to show how much City will miss him if he is to depart this summer.
While Everton were on top form last weekend, when they put five past Brighton, it wasn’t to be today – they had no response for City, and the game finished at 3-0.
Guardiola hails Everton alongside his own team
Speaking to BBC Sport after the game, City boss Guardiola was full of praise for his opponents.
“Between the Champions League semis, it’s difficult here after Everton scored five against Brighton,” he said.
“They defended deep. Their transitions are amazing. They are the best team by far in transitions in the league.”
He was also clearly very happy at the performance of his own side, hailing them for the good win in reference to the time of the campaign, and the end goal, which is not too far away.
“It was a brilliant performance at the end of a season. We need two more victories to be champions. Step by step recovery,” he added.
“We controlled the game. We were patient and attacked the spaces.”
Attention turns to Champions League
Guardiola has immediately turned his attention to the Champions League. For all City’s dominance in the past few seasons, European honours have eluded them.
The City boss feels all his side need to do to get past real Madrid in the semi-final – after the first leg ended at 1-1 – is to play how they have done during their period of dominance.
“Semi-final of the Champions League against Real Madrid at home, what can you say? I said to the players try to relax and just do what you have done for the last four or five years,” said.
City have maintained a tight-knit player group for much of Guardiola’s reign. A host of players have been around for a lot of the club’s recent triumphs.
They’ve grown during that period, and added a deadly striker in the form of Haaland. As such, they might have what it takes to go all the way, and getting past Real is the best test to see if that is true.
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