‘I said, ‘Forget about our domination, this is not going to happen in the second half”: Pep Guardiola says he KNEW RB Leipzig would come back at Man City and insists their heads shouldn’t be down after 1-1 draw
Pep Guardiola cut a frustrated figure after Manchester City were denied a late penalty and held 1-1 at RB Leipzig.
City were pegged back on 70 minutes when Josko Gvardiol cancelled out Riyad Mahrez’s first-half opener, then at the death, referee Serdar Gozubuyuk failed to award the visitors a spot-kick when Benjamin Henrichs threw his hands at the ball in the area as City attacked a corner.
‘I saw my players but not the image,’ said Guardiola. ‘It was checked. But we didn’t talk about the refereeing decisions. The referee decided no.’
But Guardiola insisted he always knew that coming to the Bundesliga high-fliers would be a tricky away match and had predicted that the tie would remain in the balance ahead of the second leg at the Etihad in three weeks’ time.
Explaining the chances City conceded in the second half, he said: ‘They made a step forward and we spoke at half-time. I said, “Forget about our domination, this is not going to happen in the second half, the manager and the fans will not accept it”.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola talks to his players following the draw with RB Leipzig
Riyad Mahrez initially fired the English champions in front after 27 minutes at Red Bull Arena
‘And our press intensity was not precise like the first half. We don’t have the team to compete with them in the transitions, they are better than us, they are faster and quicker.
‘The pace they have, we don’t have it, and that’s why we have to have the game with this control that we had first half. We had chances from nothing and we were always a threat with set-pieces.’
Guardiola came on to the pitch to rouse his players at the end after the controversial incident involving Leipzig substitute Henrichs.
‘I spoke to them because their heads were down,’ Guardiola added. ‘I said, “Why are your heads down? Heads up! If people don’t like it, it doesn’t matter. You played the game you needed to play.” It’s Champions League. All the teams are really strong. I didn’t want to lose 4-3 here.
‘We had the control we need to have. I had the feeling it would be decided in the second leg.
‘There is a missed concept in football when people say, “Why were you bad in the second half?” Why can they not think Leipzig is a good team?’
Leipzig head coach Marco Rose said: ‘We were too passive in the first half and just ran after them.
‘The second half was different, exactly how we had imagined it and we put them under pressure.’
Josko Gvardiol’s header earned RB Leipzig a 1-1 draw against Manchester City on Wednesday