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By Martin Graham | 10th May 2023
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is expecting a ‘final’ in his side’s return leg against Real Madrid at the Etihad next week.
The current holders put on a strong showing against City in the first leg of their semi final clash at the Santiago Bernabeu, having led by Vinicius Junior before an equally brilliant strike by Kevin De Bruyne levelled matters to see the game end 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Ahead of the second leg, the game is evenly poised for any side to progress though City will feel they have a slight advantage, given that they have been formidable at the Etihad this term.
In the current campaign though, Real Madrid have won their last two Champions League games in England and will be looking to make it three in a row as they eye a record-extending 15 Champions League titles.
Guardiola recently backed City to win the Champions League one day and has now said his players will give their best fight against the reigning holders next week.
Guardiola expecting fierce battle from Real Madrid at Etihad
Speaking after the 1-1 draw on Tuesday night, Guardiola said: “It was a really tight game. Congratulations to the team because in this competition and this scenario the teams are always so difficult for their history but especially their quality.
“We started really well and when we were better they made an incredible transition from Camavinga and an incredible finish from Vinicius.
“And when they were better than us in the second half, we scored a goal.
“It was a tight game. It’s open to Manchester, it will be a final playing at home with our people and we look forward to it.
“The effort was incredible. It’s like a play-off now.
“We know exactly what they have done. Maybe they will adjust something, maybe not. We have to see if we can defend a little bit better in some departments and attack because Alaba and Rudiger were so close to Erling. The spaces were occupied by Valverde and Kroos, it was not easy to find spaces for Erling.
“But we will try to adjust something maybe in the second leg to be more fluid and play with a bit more rhythm because we play at home and at home we feel comfortable with our people. We are going to try.
“The team that is going to win the game is going to get to the final.”
Guardiola also added that he was not surprised by the tight 1-1 scoreline and now has an hint of how to get the job done at the Etihad next week.
He added: “I’d rather 1-1 than 3-0 for Real Madrid.
“I’d have liked to win but I had the feeling that I was not expecting to have a wide result.
“We expect to adjust a bit in the second leg. I have a bit of an idea on what we need to do.”
Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer
Source : MyFootballFacts