Manchester City FC

Pep Guardiola calls for calm ahead of Man City's 'toughest game' of the season

Tom Gott
May 4, 2021, 10:00 AM GMT+1
Pep Guardiola expects a tough game against PSG
Pep Guardiola expects a tough game against PSG | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has urged his players to keep their heads ahead of Tuesday's Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain.

A mixed first leg saw City dominated in the first half and excel in the second, with goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez firing Guardiola's side to a 2-1 victory at the Parc des Princes. With two away goals to their name, City have a huge advantage over their rivals, who must score twice to have any chance of qualifying for the final.

Riyad Mahrez
City roared to an impressive victory | Xavier Laine/Getty Images

You'd assume that the final would be the toughest match of City's season, but Guardiola was keen to stress that Tuesday's match - the second leg of a semi-final - will undoubtedly be tougher.

“In the final, it’s completely different,” Guardiola said. “The second leg of the semi-final is always the toughest game, more than the final.

“From my experience, the semi- finals are always difficult because you know you play with the result of the first leg in your mind and you’re thinking, ‘Final, final, final'. Sometimes you can forget what you have to do, which is to win the game you are playing. That’s why I’m not thinking much about that.

“Always in my experience it’s always difficult in the semi-finals, not just in this club, but in all the clubs I have been at.”

This is the first time that Guardiola has made it this far in the Champions League with City. He made it to the semi-finals three times with Bayern Munich, but came unstuck every time against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

His final season with Barcelona also brought semi-final heartbreak, with the Catalans falling to Chelsea and Fernando Torres' late goal.

Pep Guardiola
Guardiola's last triumph came in 2011 | CARL DE SOUZA/Getty Images

“I know exactly what we are playing for,” Guardiola continued. “I don’t have to tell the players, backroom staff, doctors or cooks how important it is. We’ve been looking for this moment for many, many years, but we just have to stay home tonight, arrive tomorrow calm and go to play the game.

“We are going to control our emotions, doing exactly what we have done all season, which means in the bad moments we have to stay calm.”

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