Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola used two of Anthony Martial’s ‘misses’ against Paris Saint-Germain as one example of the fine ‘margins’ at play in the Champions League.
Guardiola was questioned on whether people are overreacting to Manchester United’s exit from Europe’s elite club competition, perhaps overlooking how difficult it actually is.
Guardiola responded with ‘yeah, absolutely’ as he noted how fine the ‘margins’ are at this level.
The City boss noted Martial’s open-goal miss when United and PSG’s tie last week was still at 1-1, whilst also commenting about the second chance the Frenchman missed with just a defender on the line.
Guardiola, who enjoyed a dynasty with Barcelona and domestic success with Bayern Munich, added that the Red Devils were very close to making it 3-3 in the 3-2 defeat to RB Leipzig that knocked them out.
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Here’s what Guardiola had to say on the fine margins of the Champions League:
“Yeah, absolutely, but what is not going to change is the margin to be in the next round or to be out in the group stages – it is so minimal.”
“With 1-1 against PSG, Martial has two clear chances – one without the keeper and another one with just the defender on the line – and he misses.”
“And, Leipzig is 3-3 in the 94th minute and they score to win 4-3 (vs Istanbul Basaksehir), that’s why they have the chance for the last game.”
“Even with 3-0 (Leipzig vs United), there is a cross from Pogba, with Maguire at the second post to score a goal.”
“They intercept the opponent – the keeper saves the ball because he found it – in behind the legs and it would’ve been 3-3, and it would be again be about the ‘spirit, character and personality’ of United.”
“This is the Champions League… this is part of this competition, so we have to accept it.”
“The margin in this level so high and that’s why it’s so high because big teams can be out.”
“That’s why always every time we win one game in the group stage I say to the players ‘well done guys, it’s so difficult, you make incredible job, think about the next one’ – in the Premier League it’s the same.”
“Every game you are able to win, it’s so complicated, so difficult, and every time we are able to do it is a big compliment.”
“So in the process every time we win, that night we celebrate and then think about later. This is the way we have to live our profession.”
It’s nice to hear a manager on this particular topic, the outrage following United’s collapse into the Europa League has possibly overshadowed Leipzig’s achievement and the overall difficulty of the UCL.
Guardiola was speaking on Friday ahead of the Manchester derby between the two sides later today, which kicks off at 5.30pm (GMT).