Manchester City’s spirit against Liverpool cannot be questioned, according to Pep Guardiola, whose team exited the FA Cup on Saturday.
City lost 3-2 in the semi-finals against the Reds at Wembley, while Jurgen Klopp’s side boasted of the competition and advanced to the 15th FA Cup final, the first since 2012 (only Manchester United and Arsenal. Have appeared in the competition several times).
Six days after the 2-2 draw between City and Liverpool in the Premier League, the most changed team from Guardiola found themselves beaten 3-0 at half-time.
Ibrahima Konate put Liverpool ahead early and Sadio Mane doubled their numbers when City’s second-choice goalkeeper, Zack Steffen, made a mistake.
Mane’s challenge to Steffen diverted the ball after the net and the Liverpool striker scored the second with a fine volley towards the end of the first half.
Jack Grealish pulled City back in the tournament and Bernardo Silva’s goal put an end to the current tension, however there would be no famous comeback.
Guardiola, however, could not criticize his team’s determination.
“Our momentum was there in the second half,” he told BBC Sport.
“We got a chance to equalize. It was a tough game because we came from a place we know where we came from, we had games we played and five or six days ago with people in trouble. The boys scored a lot of pride in the second half.
“We gave it all up after a tough first season. In the first goal, the set pieces were very strong. The second was dangerous. It’s hard to come back but they did well in the second half.”
Asked if his team was tired after a tough game, Guardiola said: “It was not a matter of fatigue. and how it works and how you play.
“Finally we have one or two breaks. We know we have seven games and the Champions League, we will try to push and see what happens.”
City have now lost four of their last five games at Wembley, including the FA Cup semi-finals over the past three seasons, and have scored three goals in the first half of the game for the first time since April 2018, when they did so again. as well as Liverpool in the Champions League.
Steffen had to raise his hands to score Liverpool’s second goal and no doubt had to do better in the third.
The mistake the United States international made in Mane’s first attempt was similar to the mistake made by Ederson’s team-mates against Liverpool last week, even though the Brazilian midfielder missed out at the time.
“It was an accident,” Guardiola said. “One of the strong points is to try to play [outside] and as a goalkeeper you have this level.
“It has been dangerous and you will learn about the future. If football is there it can always be. I have spoken to the team, not himself, but he is strong.”