Belfast Telegraph

Pep: I disagree with Gundogan, we weren't nervous in Euro clash

Within range: Pep Guardiola believes City weren’t far off it against Spurs
Within range: Pep Guardiola believes City weren’t far off it against Spurs

By Andy Hampson

Pep Guardiola has rejected Ilkay Gundogan's assessment that Manchester City were too nervous in their Champions League loss at Tottenham.

Midfielder Gundogan felt City were guilty of trying too hard as they were beaten 1-0 in the first leg of their quarter-final tie on Tuesday.

Gundogan also felt City did not respond well to Sergio Aguero's early penalty miss as they were undone by Son Heung-min's late goal.

"I don't agree with him, absolutely not," said City boss Guardiola. "There are games when we concede and we are not there but in this case we conceded a goal and nothing happened.

"Especially in the second half, it was under control. We didn't concede many shots on target and we were there many times, even if we didn't create much.

"The game at Spurs was much better than (at) Schalke. The difference was Leroy (Sane) put the ball in the (top) corner from 50 yards and against Spurs we missed a penalty. Schalke was a far more dangerous situation because we were 10 against 11 and losing 2-1, but we reacted well in both situations.

"Sergio was strong and the team was stable. We defended the set-pieces and after when we conceded there were 10 minutes left and nothing happened.

"We were there and in control. In this case, in this specific game, I don't think I agree."

Gundogan was unusually forthright in what was a critical analysis of a frustrating night at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The German, whose future is unclear as his contract expires at the end of next season, said: "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."

Of Aguero's penalty miss, he added: "Negative events like that always set us back far too much".

Despite disagreeing, Guardiola says the 28-year-old is entitled to his opinion.

He said: "He can say whatever he wants. I like when they express what they believe."

Quadruple-chasing City turn their attention back to the defence of their Premier League crown as they travel to Crystal Palace tomorrow.

Oleksandr Zinchenko and Bernardo Silva are hoping to shake off injuries. Guardiola said: "They are feeling better."

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