Pep Guardiola reveals ‘one year of pain’ behind Man City’s stunning Champions League win over Real Madrid
Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City took out “one year of pain” on Real Madrid to reach the Champions League final.
The treble remains firmly on the cards for City, who could secure the Premier League title this weekend and have an FA Cup final to come against Manchester United at the start of next month.
A week later they will travel to Istanbul to face Inter Milan, after hammering Real 4-0 in the second leg of the semi-final tie in a remarkable performance, as Bernardo Silva scored twice and Julian Alvarez netted late on, with Eder Militao also turning Manuel Akanji’s flicked header into his own net.
It was a humbling exit for the Champions League holders, 5-1 on aggregate and they struggled to even get on the ball for much of the match at the Etihad. This was a year on from when they were inflicting misery on City, Real scoring twice in stoppage-time to send the semi-final to extra-time last season before Karim Benzema struck to knock Guardiola’s side out.
Real went on to lift the trophy, beating Liverpool in the final, while City were forced to reflect on another season where their Champions League dream fell short. Guardiola felt last season’s late collapse at the Bernabeu inspired the dominant display this time.
“I had the feeling that we had one year of pain in our gut, our stomach,” Guardiola told BT Sport.
“I think today everything went out that we had. It was so painful last season. When the people say lack of character of these players, in one year we showed again how special this group of players are.”
He added: “We had all of us the feeling that we were ready. It was calm, they didn’t make a lot of jokes. I didn’t feel tension, or anxious in any faces of behaviour. I had the feeling that today we were ready to do a good performance.”
Silva put City in front with a left-footed strike, just as Thibaut Courtois’ heroics in goal threatened to frustrate the hosts, before he added a second before half-time with a looped header that beat David Alaba on the line.
There was speculation last summer over Silva’s future, and there is already talk of a potential move away at the end of this season, but Guardiola made it clear just how much he values the Portuguese star.
“In this type of game, Bernardo is always there,” the City boss said.
“Always I’ve said, he’s one of the best players I have ever seen in my life.”