Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola singled out Leeds United’s tenacity following the Whites upset victory at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
“I congratulate Leeds first of all,” Guardiola said following the match, who had previously made it clear that he considered Leeds the ‘worst’ opponent his side could face between their two Champions League quarter-final legs against Borussia Dortmund.
Pep Guardiola said: “Against Leeds, it’s difficult because they are used to winning duels. And when you beat that duel, they come back more aggressive than before to come back to dribble again. So it was a game of transitions, we have to avoid it, they did it. We defended their goal kick well from short to long. Then after, ten against 11, just being there we needed inspiration of the players and especially not to let them run. We did it during 57 minutes, but before the goal we conceded, Raphinha had a chance, Eddy saved and the second one at the end we could not control it. We have to. When you attack and attack and attack, always we have to control, don’t let them run. If we don’t, it’s impossible to play in this way.”
City dominated possession, seeing 71 per cent of the ball and registered 29 shots to Leeds’ two, but Guardiola pointed out that Marcelo Bielsa’s side have often failed to capitalise on creating so many chances.
Pep Guardiola said: “Sometimes Leeds create more chances and lose the game. Football is a lonely sport, we have said many times. Last game in the Champions League, Bayern Munich shot more than 30 shots on target and Besiktas just four or five and they lost the game 2-3. This game is how to defend properly, everyone has a plan, every manager, every team. By the end, we gave them especially the first goal, and after we created chances but not too much clear, because our crosses were not precise. We are not the best headers, but the other way created we create some chances on the counter attack and we could not finish them. At the end who wins, they deserve it.”
Guardiola also insisted that he had no regrets over his team selection, which saw him make seven changes and leave the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Ruben Dias, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez on the bench.
Pep Guardiola added: “When you win I’m a genius, when you lose, you have to take it. I don’t have any regrets about the selection because, I trust a lot of them. If I didn’t trust them they would not play. Everyone was good.”
Next up for Leeds is an Elland Road clash against Liverpool next Monday night.
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