Pep Guardiola explains key to Man City’s brilliant PSG comeback but fires warning to stars

PSG v Man City: Neymar ready to do talking on the pitch

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has given insight to what was said at half time to mastermind his team’s comeback in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain. Goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez have given City a 2-1 lead heading into next week’s second leg at the Etihad.

PSG controlled large parts of the first half and deservedly took the lead through a Marquinhos header.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side failed to capitalise on their domination and could only take a 1-0 lead into the break.

Guardiola was pleased with the start his team made but admitted the lack of experience at the semi-final stage was clear to see.

Guardiola told BT Sport: “We started really and after we conceded the goal. We held the pressure.

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“Sometimes every player has one touch on the put the ball out. It’s normal. It’s the first semi-final for a lot of people and they want to do well.

“In the last 10 minutes of the first half was good. The second half was excellent in every department. We scored two away goals. That is so important.”

It was De Bruyne who started the comeback, with his cross fooling PSG keeper Keylor Navas as it crept into the far post to give the visitors a vital away goal just after the hour mark.

But City weren’t finished there as Riyad Mahrez’s free kick somehow squeezed through the PSG wall and past a helpless Navas with less than 20 minutes remaining.

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PSG then had Idrissa Gueye sent off for a poor tackle on Ilkay Gundogan to make the Ligue 1 side’s task even harder.

When asked what he changed at half time, Guardiola said he wanted his team to be more relaxed.

The Spaniard asked his players to change the way they pressed PSG, and it worked wonders.

“Sometimes you need to be more relaxed, the first half was normal,” he added.

“In 180 minutes you don’t want to lose the ball, you don’t play free.

“We changed the way we press, we were so passive. The last 10-15 minutes we were more aggressive because it’s not easy against Neymar, [Kylian] Mbappe and [Angel] Di Maria.

“After we found the goals and scored another one and so satisfied with the performance. But it’s only halfway and we have many minutes still to beat them and PSG is a team where anything can happen.”

It is only City’s second semi-final in their history and first under Guardiola.

And the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has warned his players that the job is not yet done.

“This club does not have much experience in the latter stages of this competition,” he said.

“We have to realise ourselves anything can happen.” 

De Bruyne also spoke about what was said at half time and admitted the second-half showing was a vast improvement.

“Just play a little bit more with the ball,” the Belgian said.

“I think the first half we were too rushed. We wanted to go forward too quickly. That’s not the way we’re set up as a team. Second half we did really well. We tried to find the spaces more patiently.

“Obviously they’re a really tough team to play against and I think the progression we made was good.”

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