Kyle Walker urges Manchester City to channel the pain after ‘cruellest’ defeat

<span>‘It hurts and we’ve got to feel the pain,’ said <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Kyle Walker;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Kyle Walker</a> about <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Manchester City;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Manchester City</a>’s penalty shootout loss to Real Madrid.</span><span>Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters</span>

Kyle Walker says Manchester City must channel the anguish of their Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid into the pursuit of a domestic double. The 33-year-old spoke of the cruelty of Wednesday night’s penalty shootout defeat by Madrid, which followed a second leg at the Etihad Stadium that City dominated from the start of the second half of normal time.

The Premier League champions face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday and are two points clear of Arsenal and Liverpool at the top of the league with six matches to play.

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“It’s very difficult – it’s probably the cruellest way to ever lose a game,” Walker said, reflecting on how shootout misses by Bernardo Silva and the substitute Mateo Kovacic had ended City’s Champions League defence. “You have to take it on the chin and move on. It hurts and we’ve got to feel the pain. Hopefully that gives us the motivation to go on and do something special at Wembley [against Chelsea].

“Bouncing back is part of our job. We are professionals. We’ve worked too hard to throw it away now. The best thing in football is you have a game to put it right and Saturday is a massive game. It’s a great opportunity to take this hurt and fire from our belly.”

Madrid, who scored early through Rodrygo, threatened on the counterattack in the first 45 minutes but it was all City thereafter. The statistics showed they had 67% of the ball and 33 shots to Madrid’s eight. Kevin De Bruyne scored the equaliser in the 76th minute and wasted a glorious chance for 5-4 on aggregate shortly after. Phil Foden miskicked when well placed in the 99th minute.

Against that, Madrid defended well in a low block; they did not give up many clearcut chances and Antonio Rüdiger, who would score the winning penalty, sliced wide when he ought to have done better at the end of the first period of extra time.

“As a whole we were probably the better team,” Walker said. “But you have to take your hats off to Real Madrid. Their gameplan worked. You do these drills … eight times out of 10 in training, it’s very hard for the attackers to go and score when you’re against a low block.

“We should be used to that. We’ve dealt with that, especially for the last seven years since I’ve been here. People come to the Etihad and they find it difficult. We should have the experience to go and hurt the teams that come and do that.

“The rub of the green wasn’t on our side and especially when you go to penalties … I’ve been there for England and for City and lost and won. It’s a flip of the coin.”