Manchester City football coach Pepe Guardiola with the trophy for the Champions League winners. 11 Jun 2023.
Istanbul – According to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, it was written in the stars that his side would dominate the Champions League this year for the first time in the club's history. After Saturday's 1-0 victory over Inter Milan, the Spanish coach praised the Italian opponent, calling the final in Istanbul a coin toss because it could have ended differently.
City followed up on this year's triumphs in the English league and the English Cup and completed a valuable treble in the season. They became the eighth European club in history to do so and the second in England after city rivals Manchester United, who won three trophies in 1999.
“I think it was written in the stars that the Champions League belongs to us this season . And we did it,” Guardiola said in a televised interview. As a coach, he won the elite competition for the third time, in 2009 and 2011 he succeeded on the Barcelona bench. “Of course I'm satisfied. This damned trophy is really hard to get,” added the fifty-two-year-old coach, who also celebrated the treble with the Catalans 14 years ago.
In the final, Inter was able to eliminate the offensive power of the favorite for a long time, led by the gunner Erling Haaland. However, midfielder Rodri converted one of City's few chances in the 68th minute. In the end, the Manchester team was saved by the goalkeeper Ederson with a famous save against the header of substitute Romel Lukak from close range.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game. Mainly because Inter are a great opponent. At half-time I told the players to be patient. You also have to be lucky. If Ederson hadn't made that save at the end, it could have ended in a draw and it would have gone to extra time . This competition is like a coin toss,” said Guardiola.
He led City to the Champions League final for the second time. While two years ago, his team lost to Chelsea 0:1, now they have already succeeded, even if they did not behave sovereignly. “I think we defended better in the penalty area than we did then. We have four full-fledged centre-backs. Even if we make mistakes, we feel we are solid at the back. We didn't play a bad game, maybe we were a bit anxious in the first half, but overall it wasn't bad,” thought Guardiola.
“Winning this competition and the treble is very difficult. That's why it's not important how we played, but that we did it. We don't want to disappear after one win in the Champions League like some teams in the past . So we have to keep working hard. It's a great relief for the whole club. Finally people stop asking me if I'm going to win the Champions League with City. Hopefully we'll also finally get proper credit for what we've achieved in England. To win five titles in the last five years is something exceptional,” added the former midfielder.