Belfast Telegraph

Gareth Bale predicts bright future for Manchester City under Pep Guardiola

Gareth Bale expects Manchester City to return as a stronger force under Pep Guardiola.

City failed in their bid to reach the Champions League final for the first time as they went down with an underwhelming performance in their semi-final against Bale's Real Madrid.

Manuel Pellegrini's men failed to register a shot on target in the second leg at the Bernabeu, which Real won 1-0 to progress by the same score on aggregate.

Bale thought City might have thrown more caution to the wind in the latter stages but the experience of such a good run in the competition should stand the English side in good stead for the future.

Expectations will certainly rise next season as Guardiola takes charge at the Etihad Stadium from the outgoing Pellegrini.

Asked if he expects the former Barcelona boss to improve City, Bale said: "I'm sure he will. He's a world-class coach, he's done well wherever he's gone.

"I think experience probably told a lot here and over the two legs. We had a lot of experience of being in the semi-finals and we did a very professional job.

"I think it's difficult as it's a new occasion to them. They haven't been in this position before and it's never easy in these games.

"We limited them. The reason they didn't have chances is because we did such a good job on them."

Wales international Bale was initially credited with Real's decisive goal but the 20th-minute effort was later reclassified as a Fernando own goal after taking a deflection off the Brazilian.

It was a lead Real never looked like surrendering but they spurned numerous chances to add to it and the away goals rule meant City were only one moment of inspiration away from transforming the whole tie.

But it was not to be as the visitors failed to build any momentum.

Former Tottenham star Bale said: "At 1-0 they always had a chance but if they'd thrown everything and we'd gone down the other end and nicked another goal, as we're good on the counter-attack, it would have been game, set and match.

"I guess you could say they could have thrown a little bit more but they didn't."

Real, the 10-times European champions, will now face city rivals Atletico Madrid for the title in a repeat of the 2014 final.

Bale scored on that occasion and is relishing another chance to play in such a showpiece.

The 26-year-old said: "To have another chance to win another trophy is amazing for us and hopefully we can take that opportunity.

"It's going to be a very difficult game again, we know that, but it's one we're looking forward to."

Victory in Milan on May 28 would also put Bale in good heart as he prepares to spearhead Wales' challenge at Euro 2016.

He said: "It would be amazing to win any trophy, it would be great, but especially so before a major tournament."


From Belfast Telegraph