Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Police storm tunnel as Manchester City’s clash with Atletico Madrid boils over

City manager Pep Guardiola refused to talk about referee Daniel Siebert or the incidents after the match. He was targeted by fans with missiles as he went down the tunnel without shaking hands with opposite number Diego Simeone.

‘I have nothing to say,’ Guardiola said. “Don’t talk about referees. Or the opponents. Everyone saw the actions, that’s all. I’ve nothing to say. We take our dinner and then we prepare for the FA Cup semi-final at the weekend.

“It’s always difficult with these people in this stadium. It’s a big compliment for the players. We gave everything. We have to live these kind of situations. We can’t expect that we’re going to make everything marvelous against the champions of Spain. The opponent was really, really good.

“They pushed us a lot. They were excellent in the second half. We forgot to play. Our legs weren’t fresh enough. We were in big, big trouble.”

Guardiola is also sweating on the fitness of Kevin De Bruyne, who took a kick to the calf from Felipe and was eventually taken off. Kyle Walker also hobbled off injured in the second half but City held onto their 1-0 lead from the first leg and head into their second successive semi-final.

“We defended with everything,” Guardiola said. “Fernandinho was excellent, he gave us an incredible boost in that moment. We have to adapt when we couldn’t have the ball, the build-up was without intention. It’s the third time in our history. We felt the pressure a little bit. It’s an incredible achievement.

“We tried to attack but we couldn’t. I wouldn’t have the nerve to criticize this institution.”

‘We were resilient and deserved to go through’

City players were also jeered for taking the knee before the game. John Stones says the scenes should not detract from the victory.

“We know they sometimes try and make things happen like that. I thought we dealt with it really well,” Stones said. “It’s not nice to talk about that, I don’t want to dwell on it too much because over two legs I think we played incredible against such an experienced team in what they do, in such a low block. I’m so proud of the lads today on how we kept control and our tempers. It’s so easy to get drawn in, so happy to be through, great night.

“We knew it’s not easy, it’s my first time. Hostile environment. From talking to boys who have been here before and who know their players and how they play, it was a difficult night all round. I think how we defended, how we controlled ourselves, over two legs was incredible.

“The lads off the bench as well, incredible impact, over the six years I’ve been here, that’s why we’ve been a success because everyone in the squad plays a part in big moments and are always ready when called upon.”

On Foden’s rough treatment, Stones added: “Phil was such a threat in both games. Instant impact in the first game and how he dealt with it on the pitch, how he gained his yards, how he bought fouls, he was outstanding. I think he’s feeling it after the game now.”

Guardiola praised Stones and his defenders, adding: “John was brilliant. Aymeric as well. Everyone. There are a lot of games in our legacy. The travel was demanding and we dropped in the second half. We were resilient. In the end we were lucky enough to go through. We deserved to go through.”

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