‘No regrets’: Guardiola proud that City did ‘everything’ despite European exit

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Pep Guardiola claimed he had “no regrets” after Manchester City’s dream of a ­double-treble ended in the heartbreak of a 4-3 penalty shootout defeat to Real Madrid on a night when Arsenal also crashed out of the Champions League, their 1-0 loss at Bayern Munich consigning them to a 3-2 aggregate defeat.

City came from behind in their quarter-final second leg at the ­Etihad Stadium, Kevin De Bruyne’s 76th-minute strike cancelling out Rodrygo’s opener early in the first half. Yet despite the holders dominating ­possession, Real held on until the end of extra time and eventually prevailed from the spot.

Julian Álvarez scored City’s first penalty before Luka Modric missed for the visitors. That felt like an early, decisive moment but Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic failed to convert City’s next two. The remaining kicks all proved successful, with Antonio Rüdiger striking the winning penalty for the 14-time champions.

Pep Guardiola offered congratulations to Real and said City should have beaten Real before the shootout. “It is what is – sometimes you win on penalties and sometimes not. We should have done it before – for how we played,” the manager said. “I absolutely don’t have any regrets – we did everything offensively and defensively. Football is about scoring goals and they did it a little bit better than us from the penalty spot. They are in the semi-finals and we are not. I have to say from my heart, thank you to my players.”

De Bruyne and Erling Haaland were substituted before the shootout. “They asked me to – they could not continue,” explained Guardiola.

Arsenal were eliminated as a result of Joshua Kimmich’s 63rd-minute header at the Allianz Arena. Mikel Arteta described his dressing room as “gutted”, adding: “I cannot find the right words to lift them, I wish I had. We have to go through it [this pain]. We tried against a team that has a lot of experience and through the tie I think the margins have been very small.

“There have been moments where we have been better. We gave them two goals [in the first leg], a big advantage to give away, and today you could see it was margin of error zero, we made a mistake defending, we conceded. Then it was difficult. We tried in many different ways but it’s difficult. It is the moment to stay next to the players, give them support, because they are the ones who have taken us on this journey.”

Guardiola now has to pick his players up for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final versus Chelsea, while Arsenal, who are two points behind City in the Premier League, travel to Wolves on the same evening.

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“We will see how the players are tomorrow,” said Guardiola. Arteta said: “What we have ahead is beautiful. Six games to go – a busy schedule for everybody. Thursday – get up, come with the same attitude that we came here and hopefully beat Wolves.”

Source: theguardian.com

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