Pep Guardiola poured his heart out and gave one of his all-time great press conferences after City's defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals. The Manchester City manager defended his players and his club and... you just have to read and watch it, to be perfectly honest.
"I don't know [if these players can win the Champions League]. It's a question I cannot answer. Sometimes you ask questions, football is unpredictable. We saw many times, this team, this club. Sheikh Mansour didn't buy this club and invest in the facilities to live this last years to just win the Champions League. They did it to be there in all competitions and compete. The Champions League is the beginning and the end, we want to do it, nobody knows if we can. We have to be there in all competitions. It's an honour for us, the people don't appreciate what this club does. For me its incredibly remarkable to be in the Champions League semi-finals again, making steps to be better and compete against an established team home and away. We were close, not close enough, Madrid deserve it. What they do and we don't do, they deserve it. We weren't close enough but we were there. Nothing what we have done since they took over, its there to have a chance next season. It's so difficult, the teams are good. All the teams who didn't qualify we know how good they are. Since day one I have to handle it, the fact that we have to be there in the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League semi-finals. The Carabao Cup four times in a row. They never ask me for one title. We play as good as possible, we try to compete against all the teams. It's opposite what the people think. The people say if this group of players or Guardiola don't win a title they're failures, I completely disagree. We know how difficult everything is. You can do or say whatever. But the club and feeling we have, we try to do it. We accept everyone was sad, we were close. It was the players, they wanted to play the final, but this club to compete against Real the way we did is a joy. One week ago how close we were to making one more, we couldn't do it, okay. We give credit to what they are. I say congratulations to Liverpool and Madrid, they deserve it. Next season we try, if it doesn't work we try again. In the Carabao Cup we want to go further next season. This club is great, all the clubs in Europe are always there, the last years we are there. Sometimes not possible, sometimes you do everything and don't achieve it, what is the problem? Next day, try to do it, good moments take credit, bad moments more sad than usual, next day try to do it. This club is good for this."
"No [I am not hungrier after the Real Madrid game]. Always I am starving. I cannot live one year thinking how happy I am. Right now I cannot leave, in the moment if we won the Champions League it would be the money we spend, not how hard we work. We are the only club in the world the last 10-15 years. If we live in Madrid it can help us in the future. They don't realise now but it's a gift for us. I'd love to win the Champions League and be in the final but we have to be better from what happened in Madrid."
"They [the players] don't have to forget, how do they forget. We'll play Newcastle thinking of it [Real Madrid game]. I know the players how committed they'll be, I have no doubt. Ninety minutes they were close, Madrid has done it many year, they have this belief, history. Di Stefano, Puskas, Cristiano they were there, all the strikers know what to do. They fight because of that, we handle it as much as possible. We could have been better but it's not easy. Momentum, circumstances. Next season hopefully we will be there, we have to prove it again there. I won't tell them to forget it. Still I have here Tottenham, one inch Raheem, still it's there. The manager reminds them of good situations, hopefully they can have this now, they will be connected. Lift the trophies is so nice, forget it next season, there are winners and losers. We have to do it again, the feeling of being there. The process to enjoy these two weeks for the last finals. This is why I'm sad not to live the Champions League final but delighted to have an opportunity. I would not tell the players, my opinion of them doesn't change because I know how difficult it is. Madrid don't deserve to be in the final? Atletico played better than us in the second leg, a bit more lucky they're in the semi-final, if we're better against Real... It's football, give me an explanation of what happened - it's football. 22 players moving with the ball, good things, bad things, at the end, after extra time that's it."
"There is no time for mental [issues], they scored 45 seconds later. There's no time to settle down. That's why all the analysis, how do you control that? The emotion of the players, tell me how they feel that in that moment. We don't think they want to lose, they want to accept the crowd, score the second one. It's football. It happens. We have to accept it, we tell them they have to score goals all the time. Now people say lack of character. Lack of character? What happens if Jack Grealish scores the two goals? Where is the character in Atletico when Ederson saves from Correa. That's character but if he scores it's no character. When Courtois saves with his feet and goes to the corner, that is no character? Same for ex-football players. Margins are this, we have to handle it, maybe we have more time after the kick off, know exactly when to go long ball from Eddy. You play with emotions, you have to control emotions. In that moment emotions favour Real Madrid. Here, when it was 3-1 in that moment we were hot, Madrid were down, I was there. One minute later, throw-in, 3-2. You have momentum, football in this competition is momentum. The players in the Premier League know they have another game. This competition there is no time. It happened immediately. Madrid deserve because you're in the final, if we scored more and defended properly like the first goal from Rodrygo, we deserve it. I never complain the things, always we can do better. Next season if we are here and together that is what we have to do. Live it, maybe it will help us."
"We recover, we're better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today. It's football. We have a big challenging two weeks, especially this week where we have the [Premier League] season in our hands."
"[I have told the players] Nothing. No words can help to feel what we all feel. Just time, sleep as best as possible and think of the next target. Tomorrow is the next day we're together, we'll talk who we are as a team, what we've done to get to semi-finals of Champions League, how good we have been in these two games and the whole season. Of the moments I'm manager, these are the moments I'm most proud to be here. I'm not thinking about the [Premier League] title, I'm thinking about Newcastle, focus on the team and Eddie Howe. After, this is what is in my mind. Not necessary to think just in case, we achieve what it is."
"Determination, just to see how good we played in both games [against Real Madrid]. First game better than second one. As a player and manager in the semi-final of the Champions League isn't easy. They try to compete against an exceptional team. The focus will be the same because the potential final would be after the Premier League. The Leeds game was difficult, after this game we know four games final."
"We can't compare what happened in the past. It's different opponents, not necessary to remember what's happened in the past. It's Newcastle."
"He's [Kevin De Bruyne] good, it [substitution] was tactical."
Written by: @coIgcra
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