Guardiola urges his City stars not to respond to Atletico provocation

Pep Guardiola urges his Manchester City stars to ‘control our emotions’ in second leg against Atletico Madrid after Etihad clash threatened to spill over with Jack Grealish regularly targeted by Diego Simeone’s men

  • Man City take a slender 1-0 lead into the second leg against Atletico Madrid
  • The first leg threatened to spill over after Grealish was targeted by the visitors
  • Pep Guardiola was forced to intervene at points to keep his players calm
  • The City boss expects similar scenarios during next Wednesday’s second leg
  • However, Guardiola has urged his squad not to respond to Atletico’s provocation 

Pep Guardiola called on Manchester City to keep their emotions in check at Atletico Madrid next week.

Tuesday night’s slender 1-0 victory threatened to spill over late on when substitute Jack Grealish was regularly targeted by Diego Simeone’s side.

Angel Correa was booked after kicking a ball at Grealish when the forward lay on the ground. Guardiola ran on the pitch, reportedly shouting ‘you’re mad’ at Correa.

Pep Guardiola called on Man City to keep their emotions in check at Atletico Madrid next week

The City boss expects similar scenarios during next Wednesday’s second leg at the Wanda Metropolitano but urged his squad not to respond to provocation.

‘We have to control our emotions and do what we have to do,’ Guardiola said. ‘There will be a referee there. Atletico have known the knockout stages many times and it will be a good test for us with our maturity.

‘The referee is there. It’s not my job. Jack reacted really well and stayed focused on what we needed to do.’

Kevin De Bruyne’s 70th-minute strike proved the difference and the City playmaker was left frustrated by Atletico’s defensive game plan.

Second-half substitute Jack Grealish was regularly targeted by Diego Simeone’s side

Angel Correa was booked after kicking a ball at Grealish when the forward lay on the ground

Guardiola insists Grealish ‘reacted really well and stayed focused on what we needed to do’

‘It’s very hard,’ De Bruyne said. ‘They played with almost five at the back and with five in midfield. I recommend anyone that says anything [about us], that they try playing against that on the training ground.

‘We have to stay composed and don’t try to get into their action. It is the way they play. One nil is one nil. I expect similar over there. If the game is tight they will have to attack a little bit more.’

Guardiola added: ‘Kevin is in the best moment of the season. Sharp, quick. His influence is massive. Atletico are the masters at defending all together and it’s very difficult [to break them down].’

Guardiola expects Atletico – who did not register a single shot on goal – to show more adventure next week, although Simeone maintained his team should not be ‘embarrassed’ to defend resolutely and bide their time.

‘We played an extraordinary opponent,’ he said. ‘The stats speak for themselves. They are very dynamic. We want to go through with the tools at our disposal that we have. We defended really well, a massive collective effort. We could’ve attacked a bit better on the counter attack.

Kevin De Bruyne’s 70th-minute strike proved the difference in the first leg on Tuesday night

‘Let’s see if we can have the ball a bit more and create more difficulty for our opponents but that comes with being calm and having the collective defensive effort. I’ve been shown how to compete until the end in any way you can.’

Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak said: ‘You don’t have to go crazy because it’s a long game. You have to be cold-blooded and take the chances that we are going to have.

‘Any team who played here today would have played the same as us. Give them space and they can punish you. In Madrid we’re going to have to do that bit more offensively. That is the only way we can go through.’




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