Pep Guardiola urges Manchester City to thrive under pressure from Liverpool
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Chelsea hero John Terry has hit out at Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola after the Citizens lost their FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool on Saturday. City were swept away after conceding three unanswered first half goals against the Reds and couldn’t overcome their deficit, despite scoring twice in the second period.
“That is why you don’t rest or rotate your best players,” wrote Terry, who won the FA Cup five times as a player, in a clear message to Guardiola on Twitter. “Play your best and strongest team!”
Guardiola made seven changes to the side that progressed to the last four of the Champions League courtesy of a goalless draw at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night. Nathan Ake, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus all came into the side, while goalkeeper Zack Steffen was given a rare start in place of regular No 1 Ederson.
And it was Steffen who was at fault for Liverpool’s second goal as he dawdled on the ball on his own goal-line before Sadio Mane closed him down and deflected the ball into the back of the net. Ibrahima Konate had opened the scoring for the Reds in the ninth minute, before Mane added his side’s third goal just before the break.
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City fought back after the interval as Grealish got his name on the scoresheet. And Bernardo Silva added a second in stoppage time at the end of the clash. But it wasn’t enough to turn the match around as Liverpool kept their hopes of winning a historic quadruple well and truly alive.
After the encounter, Guardiola insisted his side’s defeat was not caused by tiredness after their endeavours in Spain. “We gave everything after a tough first half,” Guardiola said. “For the first goal, the set-pieces – they are very, very strong. The second was an accident. Difficult to come back but they did it perfectly in the second half.
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“Our momentum was there in the second half. We had the chances to equalise. It was a difficult fixture because we came from somewhere like only we know where we came from, with games we had and the last five or six days away and people with the problems. The guys put in a lot of pride in the second half.”
Liverpool will now face either Chelsea or Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final next month after already lifting the Carabao Cup in February. Jurgen Klopp’s side have also progressed to the Champions League semi-finals and sit just one point behind the Citizens in the Premier League table.
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