CHANGE

Guardi­ola vows to stick with at­tack­ing strat­egy de­spite loss

New Straits Times - - Sport -

dif­fi­cult to ex­plain. I saw the ball and went for it. I re­acted quickly and ev­ery­thing went well for me,” Oblak told re­porters.

“Two years ago I made my Cham­pi­ons League de­but here due to Miguel’s bad luck and I have great mem­o­ries of that night be­cause it was when I started to play more.”

The goal­keeper took plau­dits from team­mates and ri­val play­ers alike. For­mer Real Madrid great Iker Casil­las took to Twit­ter to laud the Slove­nian’s in­ter­ven­tion, writ­ing: “HERO. Triple save from Oblak to res­cue Atletico.”

“Oblak is the best goal­keeper in the world, he demon­strates that in ev­ery game and he did it again to­day,” said Atletico striker An­toine Griez­mann.

MANCH­ESTER City boss Pep Guardi­ola vowed his team will not aban­don their at­tack­ing DNA de­spite crash­ing out of the Cham­pi­ons League on Wed­nes­day.

City led Monaco 5-3 af­ter the first leg of their last-16 tie but the French Ligue 1 side hit back to win 3-1 in the re­turn match to reach the quar­ter-fi­nals on away goals.

Guardi­ola also ad­mit­ted that he may have strug­gled to com­mu­ni­cate his wishes to his play­ers at Stade Louis II, es­pe­cially in the first half when City quickly slipped 2-0 down.

“My phi­los­o­phy has al­ways been the same, that of at­tack­ing. In the first half, I was not able to con­vince my play­ers to play in a cer­tain way, to mo­ti­vate them, to show more per­son­al­ity. I knew how to do it af­ter the break,” said Guardi­ola.

“But the im­por­tant thing is al- ways to stay true to our DNA, to our style of play. We only did it in the sec­ond half.”

Te e n a g e p r o d i g y K y l i a n Mbappe and Brazil­ian mid­fielder Fabinho struck in­side the open­ing half hour as Monaco wrested away con­trol of the tie.

Leroy Sane pulled one back on 71 min­utes as City re­gained the lead 6-5 on ag­gre­gate, but Tiemoue Bakayoko’s ter­rific header sent the Premier League side tum­bling out of the com­pe­ti­tion.

“It’s how we were in the first 45 min­utes, that is the only sad thing for me,” Guardi­ola told BT Sport af­ter fail­ing to reach the quar­ter­fi­nals for the first time as a coach.

“You can play and the op­po­nent can beat you but we were not there. At the right mo­ment, you should be there but we were not.”

De­spite their ini­tial strug­gles City reemerged af­ter the break look­ing far more threat­en­ing, but un­like in Manch­ester three weeks ago they failed to cap­i­talise on their op­por­tu­ni­ties in the re­turn clash.

“The way we played the first 45 min­utes makes it so dif­fi­cult, but we had the chances in the sec­ond half. We had the chances to score a lot of goals and we didn’t, that’s why we’re out,” said Guardi­ola.

“Nor­mally we play all the time at a good level but at that mo­ment (first half ) we didn’t. But it hap­pens and we’ll learn. We have a team with not a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence in these types of com­pe­ti­tions.”

While City trail lead­ers Chelsea by 10 points in the Premier League, Guardi­ola is still hop­ing to land sil­ver­ware in his first sea­son in Eng­land with his side drawn against Arse­nal in the last four of the FA Cup.

“I think we’ll im­prove, we’re go­ing to try to im­prove. At this level some­times you have to be lucky in the spe­cial mo­ments in these com­pe­ti­tions. We weren’t so that’s why we will pre­pare for the Premier League, the FA Cup and next sea­son.”

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