Champions League Round of 16 opening match: Leipzig – Manchester City, February 22, 2022. Manchester City football coach Pep Guardiola after the match.
Leipzig – Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola called the 1-1 draw in the opening round of the Champions League in Leipzig on Wednesday a good result. He rejected opinions that his team, as a big paper favorite, should have won by a clear margin, and said he had an inkling that the double match with the German team would be decided only in the second leg.
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“What do you expect? That we played a friendly match here? How many matches of Leipzig have you seen? If people expect us to win 5-0 here, that it's just not like that. We're in a competition where big teams have been knocked out during the groups,” Guardiola said in an interview with BT Sport.
“It's challenging, we played the fourth game in ten days. In addition to injuries, travel. We are a good team, we can do a lot of things. But if anyone thinks we will win 4-0 here, then I'm sorry, we are not capable of that,” he said a fifty-two-year-old Spaniard.
He had only words of appreciation for Leipzig. “Why don't you think this is a good team? They didn't lose many games, they even beat Real Madrid at home. They drew 1:1 with Bayern. Bayern was better at first, but Leipzig was much better in the second half. I respect Leipzig a lot. When they they're doing well, it's because they're good,” said Guardiola.
His men led 1-0 after the opening act thanks to Riyad Mahriz, but Josko Guardiol equalized after the change of sides. “We didn't take a step forward in the second half. Leipzig started attacking high. After the equalizer, we recovered and played well in the last 20 minutes. We had chances in both halves. It's a good result,” declared the former coach of Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
The rematch on the field of the defending English champion is scheduled for March 14. “I felt that the game here in Leipzig would go this way and that it would be decided only in the second leg,” Guardiola said.
Coach of the home team Marco Rose was satisfied with the reaction of his players to the unsuccessful first half. “I told them at half-time that we should start playing. The first half was really difficult. Having 26 percent of the ball against City is not enough. We had no power, we were passive, but in the second half it was the complete opposite. Better late than never, ” said the forty-six-year-old German.