Later News Nov 25

Pep Guardiola: Manchester City sent out a statement of intent with win over PSG


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has sent out a warning to the rest of the teams in the Champions League – they are in it to win it.

 

Of course, the Spaniard has made such bold claims before, but has never managed to land the Champions League trophy, despite having spent enough money – in the five years he has been at the club – to support the United Nations’ proposal to end world hunger in 2022.

 

This time around, though, Guardiola’s confidence stems from seeing his side beat French giants Paris Saint-Germain, who are possibly the only team to have outspent City, having stocked up on luxury players such as Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi.

 

WATCH: Guardiola hails Messi's unpredictability

 

At the Etihad Stadium this morning (SGT), the Citizens fought back from a 50th minute Mbappe goal to beat the Parisians 2-1, with goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus doing the job for the hosts. The victory ensured that City would move onto the knockout stages of the tournament as the winners of Group A.

 

Despite boasting all their big-name stars, PSG – helmed by rumoured Manchester United target Mauricio Pochettino – proved to be as functional as DBS’ internet banking services, as City looked the more threatening side throughout the game.

 

And when asked in his post-match interview if the victory over PSG sent out a “statement”, Guardiola replied with an emphatic: “Of course.”

 

He added: “PSG – what a team, what players, what can I say? We tried to keep these players far away from our goal. When they are close to your goal they can do anything.

 

“Except for five minutes after we conceded, when they [went for the] knockout on the counter-attack but couldn’t finish, we made a really top performance.

 

“We are happy to be in the next stage. Congratulations to everyone in the club. It’s many years of being there. Now we will focus on the Premier League and try to arrive in February in the best condition possible to go to the quarter-finals.”

 

City’s performance was made all the more impressive considering that they were without two key players, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden, as well as one donkey player in Jack Grealish, due to various injuries.

 

WATCH: Foden's breakout Premier League campaign

 

Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko was drafted into the squad as a left midfielder instead, with Guardiola probably hoping that PSG would not be able to differentiate him from his lookalike De Bruyne.

 

Guardiola, however, insisted he was not worried about deploying Zinchenko in a position that he has rarely played in for City, as he said: “We know each other quite well and they (the players) know what they have to do.

 

“They are smart enough. Oleks has not played this position much but plays there for Ukraine. We played really well and the way we are performing is really good. People enjoy watching us and we are enjoying playing. Hopefully we can sustain this as long as possible.”

 

Meanwhile, Pochettino denied that the defeat was down to his players being left in an ORD mood unsettled by the recent speculation over his future.

 

WATCH: Pochettino reacts to rumours linking him to Manchester United job

 

The Argentinian said: “The players know very well the situation – we are living in a business in which rumours are there, sometimes negative, sometimes positive. That is what we say about the rumours.

 

“Credit to Man City, they are a really good team. We are disappointed but we need to look forward.

 

“We are improving and I am happy in the process. Things are better than one month ago and much better than two months ago. Little by little the team is improving.”

 

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