Pep Guardiola Praises Manchester City for Victory Over 'Kings' Real Madrid

Pep Guardiola, Des Kelly
City progressed to the Champions League quarter finals with victory over Real Madrid | Pool/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola has hailed his Manchester City players following their pivotal Champions League victory over Real Madrid, as they took a step forward in their bid to be crowned champions of Europe.

City have won the lot and sent Premier League records tumbling under the stewardship of Guardiola, but a Champions League title has continued to elude them.

Pep Guardiola, Zinedine Zidane
City and Real have enjoyed contrasting fortunes in the Champions League | Pool/Getty Images

In contrast, Real are the most successful team in the history of the competition, enjoying extraordinary success under Zinedine Zidane.

But the Citizens beat Real home and away to progress 4-2 on aggregate, and Guardiola says getting one over a club of Real's stature is huge for his side.

"Our history and our power in this competition is not good - our best success is one semi final," the City boss told beIN Sports. "This club [Real] win 13 times, and three in a row: they are absolutely the kings.

"To beat them twice and play with a desire made me so happy."

Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus
City progressed 4-2 on aggregate | Pool/Getty Images

City opened the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes, Raheem Sterling capitalising on a mistake from Raphael Varane.

Real got themselves back into the game through a Karim Benzema header, before Gabriel Jesus restored City's advantage after another Varane error.

City's domestic campaign had been dogged by defensive vulnerabilities, which ultimately led to them finishing 18 points behind Liverpool at the Premier League summit.

Rodrigo
City's backline stifled Benzema | Pool/Getty Images

However, on Friday evening it was the visitors who looked shaky at the back, with City holding firm against a strong Real forward line, and Guardiola was impressed with how his side defended.

"Ederson made an incredible save from Benzema," the City boss added. "Benzema is an extraordinary player, a striker who can do absolutely everything. But in the second half we did better with the ball, we pressed better and I think honestly we deserve to be in the next stage.

"It was not easy because they are so good. It's not easy to do it because the wingers are so wide. We did a good job, a really, really good job, especially second half."

City will play Lyon in the quarter finals on Saturday 15 August.