Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists that he didn’t criticize Atletico Madrid’s approach to their Champions League quarter-final tie.
City edged their way into the semi-finals after a heated affair at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday night, and Guardiola was at the center of a lot of attention.
“Make no mistake, I didn’t criticize Atletico,” Guardiola said after the game. “I said that it’s always difficult to attack against a team that defends very well.
“I didn’t expect anything else from Atletico, I said it in the press conference, it was a completely different game.”
City were criticized for their time-wasting tactics on the night, which got under the skin of Atletico Madrid, but Guardiola played things down when he was asked about his side’s antics.
“There were throw-ins,” Guardiola said. “We tried to take them. We didn’t know what to do and it was a back and forth…. That’s all there was to it.”
Now, Manchester City faces Madrid’s other side – Real Madrid – in the Champions League semi-finals, and Guardiola is expecting another serious test of his team’s credentials against the 13-time champions.
“The kings of the competition,” Guardiola said, asked about the semi-final. “It was always going to be only a matter of time before it was complicated.
“It’s our third semi-final of the competition. If we play as we did in the second half we won’t have a chance. We’ll try to play like we did in Manchester and at times in the first half here.
“We came here from a game with no time to prepare for this one. They [Atleti] were very good. It was very difficult. We’ve held on.”