‘The show must go on’: Pep Guardiola vows his Manchester City side will come back stronger in the Champions League next season after crashing out at the quarter-final stage once again
- Pep Guardiola vowed his Man City side will come back stronger next season
- The club were unable to progress beyond the Champions League quarter-finals
- Underdogs Lyon progressed with a 3-1 victory and will play Bayern Munich
Pep Guardiola insisted ‘the show must go on’ and Manchester City will try again for European glory next year after failing to make the semi-finals of the Champions League for third successive season.
City were beaten 3-1 by unfancied Lyon, who finished seventh in Ligue 1. Defensive mistakes, missed chances and a controversial VAR decision all went against Guardiola’s men, but he said his players must stand up and go again.
‘The show must go on,’ he said.
Pep Guardiola insisted the show must go on after his side went out of the Champions League
The manager said the Manchester City players will come back even stronger next season
‘I’m not able with these incredible guys to break this line and reach the quarter-finals. Three years in a row in that position we are out. What these guys have done, they deserve to go through and go to the semi-finals but we are not able to. Life is how you stand up again and next season we’re going to try again.’
The Catalan says City will now take a much-needed rest and prepare for next season, which is only a month away.
‘Now it’s time for the players take a break, a short one, and we’re going to get in as many days as possible.
‘Next season will be so strong and demanding but now it is not the time to think about this, we’ll try to sleep a little bit and then start to think about next season.’
Guardiola was criticised for experimenting with three defenders instead of playing a back four
Guardiola was criticised for experimenting with three central defenders instead of City’s usual back four, but he said the players had spent the past three days on the system and settled into it after an uncertain opening 20 minutes.
Revealing that he did not believe his central defenders were quick enough to cope with Lyon’s fast raiding forwards, he added youngster Eric Garcia to the pairing of Fernandinho and Aymeric Laporte, which left City short of creative options until he sent on Riyad Mahrez early in the second half.
By then City were already playing catch-up after Maxwell Cornet’s opening goal. ‘Neither of our central defenders are too quick so we were more solid making a three. Unfortunately at first we struggled in front of goal.
‘After that we created a lot, but we made one or two mistakes and this competition is so hard. It happened last season against Tottenham, so maybe one day we will improve and we’ll break the situation.’
VAR played a huge part when Spurs beat City at this stage last season, and was controversial again last night, when it decided Laporte was not fouled by Lyon substitute Moussa Dembele in the build-up to the first of the former Celtic striker’s two goals.
VAR decided not to allowed Lyon’s second goal to stand despite a possible foul in the build up
But Guardiola said: ‘It has happened many times in this competition but I don’t want to talk about it now how, we find it as a club. It is what the referee decides, this kind of circumstance, and it is what it is.’
Even at 2-1 down, Raheem Sterling had a glorious chance to equalise and take the game into extra time but blazed over an open goal from six yards. Guardiola said he had not spoken to the players afterwards, having gone straight to his media duties. ‘I didn’t see the players afterwards but we are going to speak now at the hotel.
‘In football we know we can do many things well, but in the boxes you have to be serious, not concede the goals we conceded especially the second one.
‘The statistics show that we were good, we did more than the other ones (Lyon) in terms of everything but it was not enough.’