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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Guardiola urges Man City to attack Atlético and not to ‘defend the result’ | Champions League

Pep Guardiola has pledged to attack Atlético Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano as he has targeted a second win against Diego Simeone’s side to take Manchester City into the Champions League semi-finals in style.

Atlético did not register a shot of any kind at the Etihad Stadium but, while a repeat would secure City a place in the last four for a second consecutive season, Guardiola will go to Madrid looking to add to Kevin De Bruyne’s winner. He rued his side’s inability to extend their advantage and is determined to make them more potent next Wednesday in the quarter-final second leg.

“We will go there to score and try and win again,” Guardiola said. “We played an incredible top side who are difficult to face but it is a good result. Unfortunately at the end we had one or two more chances with Kevin to score more goals [and did not]. We can attack a bit better. We go there not to defend the result but to try and win the game.”

De Bruyne marked his 50th Champions League appearance with the winner, after a defence-splitting pass from Phil Foden, 80 seconds after Guardiola brought him on in a triple substitution. The City manager praised both and believes De Bruyne has rediscovered his finest form.

The Atletico Madrid head coach, Diego Simeone.
The Atletico Madrid head coach, Diego Simeone. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

“He is in the best moment of the season right now,” he said. “He is sharp, quick and positive. His influence in our game is massive. He made an exceptional goal with the combination with Phil. We need the talent like Phil has shown in small spaces. He has a special quality.”

Atlético had three players booked for fouls on the substitute Jack Grealish and Guardiola went on to the pitch to intervene after Ángel Correa kicked the ball at the £100m man when he lay on the turf. He argued that City cannot react in the second leg as he called upon the officials to protect them, adding: “We have to control our emotions and do what we have to do. There will be a referee there. Atlético face these kind of knockout stages many times more than us and it will be a good test for our maturity.”

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Simeone, the Atlético manager, said: “It is a bad result because we lost 1-0 and we were looking to win. It is clear we were playing against an extraordinary opponent. We have to go to Madrid now and use the tools at our disposal.”

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