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Pep Guardiola says 'poor' Manchester City 'forgot to play' vs. Basel

Gabriel Jesus PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images


 March 8th, 2018  |  11:42 AM  |   215 views



Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City were "really, really poor" as Basel inflicted only his second ever defeat at the Etihad Stadium, adding that his team "forgot to play."


City were beaten 2-1 on the night but still comfortably progressed to the quarterfinals of the Champions League by beating the Swiss champions 5-2 on aggregate.


The Catalan coach rested a number of senior players including Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Ederson, but was not impressed by his side's performance saying that they forgot to attack in the second half.


City completed 977 passes to their opponents 249, but Guardiola said they lacked a purpose and appeared to be passing for the sake of it.


"From tomorrow we will be happy to be in the quarterfinals for the second time at this club so we are new in that position and of course we are so happy for that," Guardiola told a news conference.


"Even the first half was quite good, but the second half we forgot to attack, we forgot to play.


"You must pass the ball to attack. Just to pass to pass for itself is nothing. The second half was really, really poor."


Guardiola admitted it was difficult to motivate his side with such a comfortable lead from the first leg following the 4-0 victory in Switzerland.


However, Guardiola was at least happy with the performance of Gabriel Jesus, who scored his first goal since Nov. 18, while 17-year-old Phil Foden also became the youngest ever English player to appear in the knockout stages of the Champions League.


"It's not easy to play with 0-4. We tried, we spoke about that," Guardiola added. "In the first half, we created a lot of chances at 1-0 and we were good.


"In the quarterfinals that situation is not going to happen -- to play the second game for 4-0 and the rhythm will be very different.


"The goal will do Gabriel's confidence a lot of good. [Foden] was good. In the second half he was maybe the only one with Leroy [Sane] who tried to be aggressive and try to do something."


Guardiola expects his side to return to a higher intensity in the last-eight, but predicted that whoever they face will be a difficult opponent.


"In that level all the teams will be so tough and so demanding," he added. "We know we have to have a better performance to compete in those situations but we will try to be ready."



courtesy of ESPNFC

by Jonathan Smith


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