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Ilkay Gundogan: Man City are too nervous in big Champions League games

City suffered a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham in the first leg of their semi-final.

Ilkay Gundogan feels Manchester City are too nervous in Champions League games (Nick Potts/PA)
Ilkay Gundogan feels Manchester City are too nervous in Champions League games (Nick Potts/PA)

Ilkay Gundogan believes Manchester City are too nervous and making too many mistakes in the Champions League.

The City midfielder feels City were guilty of trying too hard as they were beaten 1-0 in the first leg of their quarter-final against Tottenham on Tuesday.

The Premier League champions were undone by a late Son Heung-min goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, leaving them with a deficit to overturn in next week’s return leg.

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Son Heung-min scored to consign Manchester City to defeat (Adam Davy/PA)

After exits in the last 16 and quarter-finals in the past two seasons, transferring domestic dominance on to the European stage remains a challenge for City under Pep Guardiola.

Gundogan told Sky Deutschland: “We were not brave enough in the game and we made a lot of simple mistakes.

“I have the feeling we are nervous in important Champions League games. We always make the wrong decisions.

“In these matches we always want to do something special because it means (going through to the) Champions League semi-finals. Sometimes less is more.”

Gundogan believes City reacted badly to an early penalty miss by Sergio Aguero.

The Argentinian was denied by Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris after City were awarded a controversial spot-kick when Danny Rose was adjudged to have handled in the box.

Gundogan thinks the game would have been much different had Aguero scored.

The 28-year-old said: “Negative events like that always set us back far too much.

“Had we scored from the penalty we’d have taken Tottenham apart.

“But instead we withdrew from the game. That must not happen to a big team. That’s why we’re not there yet.”

Gundogan remains confident City can turn the tie around when the sides meet again at the Etihad Stadium next Wednesday.

He said: “Unfortunately for us we were not able to score the penalty or create chances to get the goal which would have been important, but we take it as it is. We know we are able to beat Tottenham at home, there is still hope and a chance for us.”

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola did not enjoy his first trip to Tottenham’s new stadium (Adam Davy/PA)

City now switch their focus back to their Premier League title defence as they return to London to face Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Despite the Spurs loss, City’s bid for an unprecedented quadruple remains alive, although Gundogan claims the players are not thinking about how many trophies they might win.

He said: “You guys talk all the time, we don’t really talk about it, not even in the dressing room or at the training ground. I don’t think that will change in the upcoming weeks.

“We have to deal with what people are saying on this topic but it’s up to us to be successful and do what we want to achieve.”

PA

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