Pep Guardiola explained his tactical tweaks in Manchester City’s shock Champions League loss to Lyon were to try to cover his side’s weaknesses and rued Raheem Sterling’s costly miss.
City fell to a 3-1 defeat in Saturday’s quarter-final in Lisbon, with Moussa Dembele striking twice after Kevin De Bruyne had cancelled out Maxwel Cornet’s opener.
There will be much scrutiny of the tactical choices made by Guardiola, who opted to line up with an unfamiliar three-man defence with wing-backs, while Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva were unused substitutes despite the need for goals.
When asked about his line-up by BT Sport, Guardiola said: « No, what we have done is try to cover our weak points in comparing with the strong points, like they make incredible [moves] in the channels with the two-v-two.
« [After the] first 15-20 minutes of the first half, it was magnificent, we unblocked our respect a little bit, or we struggled to find our spaces to attack and in the same shape we played well in the final 10-15 minutes.
PEP It is what it is. One day we will break the gap to the semi-finals. Second half was okay, we were there, I had the feeling we were better, but you have to be perfect in this comp and we didn’t.#ManCity | https://t.co/axa0klD5re pic.twitter.com/062u9kPEMH
The match was defined by a scarcely believable period in which Sterling blazed over the crossbar with the goal wide open before Dembele pounced on a poor parry from Ederson at the other end to make it 3-1 and all but end City’s hopes.
« In this situation, you have to equalise and go to extra-time in the last minutes, and after, we concede the third goal, » he added.
« In this competition, you have to be perfect. We created more chances, more shooting, but unfortunately we are out again. »
It marks the third straight season City have fallen at the quarter-final stage under Guardiola, who remains convinced his side will eventually end that hoodoo.
« One day we will break this gap to the semis. In the first 20, 25 minutes, we struggled to find spaces to attack, » he said.
« The second half was okay – we were there. I had a feeling we were better. You have to be perfect in this competition. »
Lyon’s second goal was not without controversy with the VAR checking for a potential foul on Aymeric Laporte, while City also appealed in vain for offside against Karl Toko Ekambi, who let the ball pass through his legs to the onside Dembele.
« I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about the circumstances sometimes, you know I don’t wanna talk, it looks like i am complaining or finding excuses, we are out, » he reasoned.
« I had the feeling we were incredible already. We did a lot of good things, but we made a lot of mistakes in the boxes in the key moments. »
Copyright © 2020 Goal.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Goal.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Goal.com
Manchester City F.C., UEFA Champions League, Olympique Lyonnais, Pep Guardiola
World news – AU – Pep explains Man City tactical choices and rues Sterling miss | Goal.com