Owen Hargreaves says Manchester City ‘lacked a bit of intensity’ in the second half of their Champions League draw against RB Leipzig – and says Pep Guardiola will be frustrated his stars didn’t ‘finish the job’ in the first leg
- Owen Hargreaves lamented Man City’s second half showing in Germany
- City were held to a 1-1 draw by RB Leipzig as a late goal kept the hosts in the tie
- Former City midfielder Hargreaves related to Pep Guardiola’s frustrations
Owen Hargreaves believes Pep Guardiola will be frustrated at his Manchester City players for not finishing the job after they were held to a 1-1 draw by RB Leipzig in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
City were dominant in the first half and went ahead through Riyad Mahrez’s well-taken goal but their tempo dropped after the restart, allowing the hosts to equalise thanks to Josko Gvardiol’s soaring header.
Hargreaves, speaking on BT Sport, said City ‘lacked intensity’ in the second half but credited Leipzig for an improved display.
‘The first half was brilliant, that was pure control. Second half, even from the kick off I think they lacked a bit of intensity,’ he said.
‘Leipzig made a good change. Henrichs came on and provided width on the right hand side and Szoboszlai was able to come inside and they were able to control the game. They are a possession-based side.
Pep Guardiola (left) cut a frustrated figure as he delivered a full time message to his stars in Germany
RB Leipzig pulled themselves back into the tie thanks to a late header from Josko Gvardiol
‘Maybe they looked at Nottingham Forest and how they defended deep. Second half they realised they had to come out more. They are a ball-playing side and we saw that. Credit Leipzig but I think City were a bit reserved.
‘I think that is probably what Pep was saying to his players there. They had them. Just finish the job,’ he added.
Guardiola cut an aggravated figure in the away dugout at the Red Bull Arena and was seen debriefing his players on the pitch after full-time.
But player-turned-pundit Hargreaves understands the Blues boss’ reaction and admitted Guardiola ‘will be annoyed’ with what he saw from his players at times throughout the second-half.
City dominated with 62% possession overall but couldn’t convert their goalscoring opportunities, registering just three shots on targets throughout 90 minutes.
Erling Haaland’s impact was also limited, despite City’s control in the first-half.
Hargreaves stopped short of overly criticising his old club and insisted the draw was a ‘decent result’ but did explain they could have scored more goals if they played like they did in the first half.
‘I think he (Guardiola) will be annoyed they stopped playing and that Lepzig were so much better in that second half. We said they would come out more and they did,’ he said.
‘All in all it is a decent result, but I think there was more in it for City if they played like they did in the first half.’
Owen Hargreaves labelled City’s stars as ‘reserved’ against Leipzig but insisted the draw was a ‘decent result’ for his old side
Guardiola cut a frustrated figure at times during his side’s draw with Leipzig on Wednesday
A frustrated Guardiola claimed he was happy with his team’s performance across the 90 minutes, despite their failure to capitalise on their first-half dominance.
The Spaniard claimed the first leg was ‘never a game we could win 5-0 or 4-0’ as he praised the German side’s display.
City, who drew their last Premier League outing with Nottingham Forest on Saturday, will resume their pursuit of a title defence when they play Bournemouth at the weekend.
The return leg against Leipzig at the Etihad takes place on March 14.