Pep Guardiola hails ‘amazing’ City after comfortable win over Basel
Ilkay Gundogan brace helps City to comfortable victory.
Pep Guardiola felt his Manchester City side all but secured their place in the Champions League quarter-finals as they thrashed Basel 4-0 in Switzerland on Tuesday.
Ilkay Gundogan scored twice and there were also goals for Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva as the Premier League leaders produced yet another commanding display in what is proving a remarkable season.
The result means the second leg of the last-16 tie at the Etihad Stadium next month should be a formality for City.
City boss Guardiola said: “It’s an amazing result for the last 16 of this competition.
“The Champions League is (about playing) 180 minutes but we are almost there. I’m not saying it’s done because in football anything can happen but it’s an amazing result.
“We could have been 2-0 down but then we were 0-2 up. We were clinical and I am delighted with the performance.
“We kept our level, we fought hard and created chances to score. They were four amazing goals. Overall I’m delighted.”
Guardiola also paid tribute to Gundogan, who might even have claimed a hat-trick had Tomas Vaclik not saved from him in the closing stages.
Guardiola said: “He’s a guy with special qualities. He’s amazing with a good sense of goal.
“When I see him play I realise how we missed him last season. He is a special player with a lot of personality. He doesn’t feel pressure, he’s a top player.”
The emphatic nature of the victory means Guardiola may be able to rest players in the second leg but he is not looking that far ahead yet.
First City face Wigan in the FA Cup and Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final, with tricky league games against the Gunners and Chelsea also coming before the Basel return fixture.
Guardiola said: “That’s so important but we have to be focused and it’s after Chelsea. It’s so important to focus on them and take another step in the Premier League.
“Vinny (Kompany) is back, Fabian (Delph) is back – a lot of players have come back from long-term injuries. That’s good for everyone and (Gabriel) Jesus and (Benjamin) Mendy are coming back. We’ll have almost the whole squad for this period when we will need everyone involved.”
Basel coach Raphael Wicky admitted his side were outplayed by a ruthless City side.
Wicky said: “They were very clinical, scoring three goals in the first half. We started well, we created chances and managed to win balls but, as I said yesterday, we needed a perfect night. We needed to take the opportunities and be clinical.
“But we conceded goals too easily and after we went 3-0 down I think the game was decided.”