Guardiola: We’ll play to win in Madrid

Pep Guardiola says his team’s performance was ‘exceptional’ in the 4-3 victory over Real Madrid in the Etihad on Tuesday night, but insists they will need to play even better in the second leg.

Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva were on target for Guardiola’s men, who held a two-goal lead three times.

But Karim Benzema’s double and a brilliant individual effort from Vinicius Junior gave Madrid hope of another famous Champions League fightback at the Santiago Bernabeu on May 4.

Guardiola knows his team just need to avoid defeat in Spain to reach a second consecutive Champions League final but he would not be changing his attacking ethos.

He said: “It was a fantastic game for both sides. We did many good things. Unfortunately, we conceded goals and we could not score more.

“We played a fantastic game against an incredible team. The moments where they rise and come back into the game in the first half I think we gave them as our build-up was so nervous. Normally, we are so safe and so good. Also they press really good and strong. All around the world and for Manchester City, we are so proud. But it is about reaching the final and sometimes football happens. We go to Madrid to try to win the game.

“We went out of the Champions League to Tottenham when Llorente with the hand. Today, it is a hand for Laporte. It happens. All we can do is perform as we perform. The quality of Real Madrid is such they can punish you.

“What we have done with the ball and without the ball, creating chances and chances and chances I can’t ask anything else. I say to the players to rest. Leeds now is the most important thing and we go to Madrid to win. Both teams want to attack and have the quality to play. Football is a fantastic spectacle. Congratulations to Carlo and his team as they are so good. At the same time, we saw ourselves that we can be there.”

Madrid have already dug deep to edge past Paris St Germain and Chelsea to reach the semi-finals, and the Bernabeu is primed for another special night next week.

Ancelotti’s side had looked in danger of being blown away at times on Tuesday but somehow escaped trailing by one goal. – Sky Sports

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