Pep Guardiola advised Manchester City not to think they are already through after explaining the secrets behind their second-half turnaround against Paris Saint-Germain.
City earned a 2-1 advantage from the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. They fell behind in the first half but away goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez after the break put them in control. They will be hoping to finish the job next week to reach the final.
However, Guardiola insists they still have work to do and PSG are capable of causing an upset in Manchester.
He will be hoping their performance in the return leg is more like that of the second half in Paris than the first. Explaining the differences between their performances either side of the break, Guardiola pointed out how they rediscovered their principles.
He told BT Sport: “We started really well. We felt pressure after conceding. Sometimes we have to do more touches.
“A lot of people, it was the first time in the semi-finals and wanted to do it well.
“The last 10 minutes was good. In the second half we were excellent in every department. Two away goals. We have a hard job in six days.
“Sometimes you need to be more relaxed and be ourselves. The first half is normal – 180 minutes, you don’t want to lose the ball, you don’t play free. We changed a little in the way we press.
“We were passive [earlier on]. Then we were more aggressive. It’s not easy against Mbappe, Neymar, Di Maria. Afterwards we found goals and could have scored another.
“I’m so satisfied with the performance but we’re only halfway. There are 90 more minutes. PSG are a team, anything can happen.
“We didn’t have the good possession in right positions. That sometimes is normal. This club don’t have much experience in the semi-finals of this tournament. This will help us.
“In the second half we were aggressive and played really good.
“Against Dortmund, we conceded and came back. Today the same. Be ourselves in the second half.
“We are good playing in a certain way – we can’t do a different way.”
De Bruyne details half-time message
City captain De Bruyne set the comeback in motion and he echoed Guardiola’s thoughts about their performance.
The Belgian told BT: “It was a game of two halves. We started well in the first 10 minutes but PSG are an unbelievable team and have great quality up front. It was a shame the way we conceded.
“After that they had a couple of small chances. After 25 minutes we changed the way we pressed them and it became better.
“The second half was much, much better. We put them under pressure. The first goal was a little bit lucky with the way it went in, but we played great football and we did well.”
De Bruyne confirmed that Guardiola’s half-time message was about calming down.
He revealed that Guardiola instructed them: “Just play a little bit more with the ball.
“The first half, we were a bit too rushed, trying to go forward too quickly and that’s not the way we are set up as a team. In the second half we tried to find space more patiently.
“They’re a tough team to play against. The progression we made as a team was good.
“There is still a game to go and we have to concentrate on that.”
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