Manchester City’s ambitions of reaching a second Champions League final were crushed on Wednesday evening at the Santiago Bernabéu, as the Premier League leaders were eliminated from the competition at the semi-final stage.
Following an astonishing 4-3 triumph at the Etihad Stadium in the first leg, Riyad Mahrez’s second-half strike appeared to have seemingly set up another all-English final – despite Liverpool having already earned their spot in Paris the night before.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, pulled off the most unlikely comeback, as a quick-fire Rodrygo brace drove the Blues into extra-time, during which Karim Benzema converted his second penalty of the match.
As Pep Guardiola prepares his squad to face a revived Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday, the City manager admitted that he has not spoken to his squad since the heartbreaking exit.
“Nothing. There are no words that can express how we all feel. “It’s just time, sleep as much as you can, and think about the next aim,” the Catalan stated.
“The next day we’ll get together, we’ll talk about who we are as a team, what we’ve done to get to the Champions League semi-finals, how good we’ve been in these two games, and the entire season.”
“Of the moments I’m manager, these are the moments I’m most proud to be here,” Guardiola concluded.
“I’m not thinking about the title; I’m focused on Newcastle and Eddie Howe.” This is what I’m thinking after that. It’s not necessary to consider what might happen if we achieve what we want.”
The city is one point ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League title battle and faces Newcastle on Sunday in the start of a grueling final two weeks of the season, which also includes games against Wolves, West Ham, and Aston Villa.
Guardiola said of City’s remaining four games as they seek their fourth title in five years, “We recover, we’re better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than today.” It’s football time. We have a tremendous hard two weeks ahead of us, especially this week when the season is on the line.”