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Friday, 24 May 2019

"I couldn't have done that" says Guardiola after Manchester City bounce back

Reuters , Saturday 20 Apr 2019
Guardiola
File Photo: Guardiola after Manchester City bounce back (Photo: Reuters)
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he would not have been able to recover, as a player, from Wednesday's Champions League exit to Tottenham and then beat the same opponents on Saturday in the Premier League.

City went out of Europe on away goals despite beating Spurs 4-3 but a single goal from 18-year-old Phil Foden was enough to send Guardiola's side back to the top of the Premier League ahead of Liverpool's trip to Cardiff on Sunday.

"The last two days have been really tough for us," said Guardiola a former Barcelona and Spain midfielder.

"We could have lost the Premier League today –- after Wednesday it was really tough. As a footballer, I could not have done what my players have done today. The title is still in our hands."

Guardiola said he had not pushed his players to adopt a particular way of handling the bitter defeat -- which saw a late VAR decision deny them progress to the last four.

"I told my players that if they had forgotten what happened it’s good but if it still hurts then it’s good," he said.

Saturday's game was a tense and nervy encounter with few clear-cut chances as City held on to secure their tenth win in a row in the Premier League and move one point above Liverpool.

"Both teams have incredible players with heart and personality. It was a real tough game after our mental defeat on Wednesday," said the Spaniard.

"It was our not best performance, compared to the other day but today they (Spurs) had nothing to lose and we played to (not) lose the Premier League and after our defeat last Wednesday it was really tough the last two days."

The former Barcelona coach also asked for some perspective about what his team have achieved this season, fighting on several fronts as they look to retain their Premier League title.

"Even if we don’t do it, we’ve been on a remarkable run; every day with this club and these players. It doesn’t matter what happens next; we’ll fight until the end –- we’ll see how far we get.

"Twenty-four months doing that, when you have 100 points and 86 now... after what we have done last season, being in the final of the FA Cup, the team was incredible this season and that's why they don't have to show me their character.

"This is one of the best Liverpool (sides) ever, one of the best sides I ever play (against) and every three days being there, being there, being there, it is remarkable. I want to win it but I will not judge (them) if we don't".

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