‘What these players have done in the most difficult year is unbelievable’: Pep Guardiola praises his stars and dedicates PSG victory to former Manchester City legends who helped make it to the Champions League final
- Manchester City reached their first ever Champions League final with PSG victory
- Pep Guardiola said they couldn’t have done it without their former stars
- Guardiola wished the fans were there and added ‘the club belongs to the people’
- City can win the Premier League title against Chelsea in the Etihad on Saturday
Pep Guardiola praised his team’s collective spirit after Riyad Mahrez scored twice to beat Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 in total.
“I am incredibly proud,” said the City boss. ‘Everyone has contributed. There is something in the stars that is involved.
‘It’s a match that is so difficult. This is for the players before us: Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates his side’s second goal from Riyad Mahrez
Guardiola dedicated the victory to former City stars like David Silva and Vincent Kompany
‘And the one here when I arrived: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, David Silva. A lot of players helped us and the guys from Abu Dhabi to this stage. I want to share it with all of them. ‘
City is leaving for Istanbul on May 29 to face Chelsea or Real Madrid, who meet tonight.
Guardiola will complete a third Premier League title in four years with victory over Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, having already won the Carabao Cup.
Hundreds of City fans lined the streets to welcome the team coach. “We loved it,” added Guardiola. ‘Thank you very much. It was so weird to play a semifinal in an empty stadium. This performance should have our fans there. The club belongs to the people.
‘We were so calm. We suffered together. We defended so well. Winning against a team that beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich means a lot to us.
What these players have done in the most difficult year is unbelievable. A lot of great people work behind the scenes. Reaching the finals helps with the bigger picture of the past four years, to understand what we’ve been doing. That’s unfair, but it is what it is. ‘
Kyle Walker (right) jumps in the clouds after Mahrez made it 2-0 against Manchester City
Kyle Walker said, “You dream about that. I’m buzzing. We have tightened up defensively. You have to control your nerves. We settled in and started to believe in ourselves. ‘
Mauricio Pochettino’s side later lost the head and saw Angel Di Maria be sent off for kicking Fernandinho after Mahrez’s second goal of the evening.
“They lost their nerves and started kicking us,” Mahrez said. ‘They got the red card and after that it was more comfortable for us.
“Everyone has to defend and contribute defensively, we were very solid and that is why we are in the final.”
PSG claimed that Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers used coarse and foul language against several players when tempers flared.
“We’re talking about respect with referees … the referee said f *** off to Leandro Paredes tonight,” Ander Herrera said.
Marco Verratti added: ‘He said f *** you to me. I talk to referees a lot, but I never say that, otherwise I will be banned for ten matches. ‘
Marco Verratti (second right) enters into a discussion with referee Bjorn Kuipers (second left) after the match