Pep Guardiola has finally helped Manchester City to play in the UEFA Champions League final for the first time in the history of the club. City will face either Chelsea or Real Madrid in the final on May 29 at Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey.
Pep Guardiola succeeded in qualifying Manchester City for the final of the Champions League after four failed attempts. Before now, the Spanish tactician and his team always stopped at the quarter-final stage of the competition until this season when they were able to do the expected by making it to the semi-final for the second time in the club’s history.
They defeated German Bundesliga side, Borussia Dortmund to book a place in the semi-final stage of the competition where they confronted reigning champions of French Ligue 1, Paris Saint Germain.
The semifinal encounter between Manchester City and PSG was expected to be a difficult one for the Premier League side because PSG were seen as the favorite to win the tournament after knocking out European giants like FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
However, in the first leg of the round, Pep Guardiola led Manchester City to Paris and they stunned the French side with a 2-1 defeat which gave the Premier League club an advantage ahead of the return leg.
On Tuesday, May 4, PSG visited Manchester for the return leg with the hope of overturning the result of the first leg, but their effort without their talisman, Kylian Mbappe proved not enough.
Manchester City faced the determined PSG side at the Etihad stadium with the aim of taking advantage of their away victory which they did.
Algerian striker, Riyad Mahrez gave Manchester City the lead in the 11th minute of the first half and scored the second goal in the 63rd minute of the second half.
PSG’s effort to perform a miracle received a big blow in the 69th minute when their veteran midfielder Angel Di Maria received a red card. Hence, they couldn’t overturn the result as City qualify for the Champions League final 4-1 on aggregate.
Pep Guardiola Hails his players and Manchester City’s owner
Pep Guardiola applauded Manchester City players and the owner of the club – Sheikh Mansour after the club landed in the final of the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.
It also marks the first time in 10 years that the Spanish tactician took any club to the final of the competition after winning it twice while he was the coach of FC Barcelona.
In the post-match press conference, Pep Guardiola hailed his team for beating “a team that knocked out Barcelona and Bayern Munich.”
“We struggled early on but were much better in the second half. It was an incredible, huge victory for us”, he said.
“What the players have done this season is incredible in the toughest year for everyone. Being so close to winning the Premier League and in the final of the Champions League is so good.
“My first words are for the players who didn’t play. I know how tough it is.
“My second are for our owners, chairman, all the people from Abu Dhabi. Then the players who played before for us – Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee.
“Then the guys that helped to take the club to another level – Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, David Silva, Sergio (Aguero), who is still here. Many players helped us to be at this stage, we want to share it with them.
“Without them, it would not possible.”
Manchester City’s success is not just about money – Guardiola
On the question of whether it was the huge investment in the club that earned Manchester City the accolades they have been enjoying, Pep Guardiola stressed that the achievement the club has been enjoying was not just about the money that has been invested in the club.
“Of course, we’ve invested money in the last decade since Sheikh Mansour took over the club, but it’s not just about this”, he added.
“If you want to think it’s just about money, it’s okay. But there is a lot of incredible things behind the scenes, a lot of people working, supporting, and a clear strategy to do it.
“What we have done the last four years has been incredible, in terms of the Premier Leagues, the Carabao Cups, the cups, and in every competition we’ve played.
“To reach the Champions League final is so difficult. It’s the toughest one but we did it. We’ve had an incredible Champions league season and now, we deserve to be there. We are going to play the final.”