Manchester City Coach Pep Guardiola admitted his side, who are chasing the treble, were in “huge trouble” after picking up injuries in the Champions League triumph over Atletico Madrid.
A 0-0 draw in the second leg in a fiery clash in the Spanish capital secured a 1-0 aggregate win and sent the Premier League leaders through to the semi-finals.
But just days before their FA Cup semi-final game against title rivals Liverpool, City saw Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker both injured while Phil Foden left the pitch heavily bandaged.
“We’re in big trouble,” Guardiola told BT Sport.
“We can’t forget that we played a tough game against Liverpool three days ago. We came here, we have a lot of injuries. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few weeks, but today we’re going to celebrate.
“It’s the third time in Manchester City’s history that we’ve reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and it’s a huge achievement for us to be there.”
Guardiola didn’t mention how serious the injuries were, while also claiming he had ‘nothing to say’ about the ugly scenes that hampered his side’s progress on Wednesday night.
The match ended in resentment and bitterness with scuffles on the field and in the tunnel.
First, a scuffle broke out on the field involving numerous players from both sides after Felipe kicked Foden.
Amidst the trouble, Atletico defender Stefan Savic pulled unused City substitute Jack Grealish’s hair after the pair exchanged words. Felipe was sent off for his involvement.
The problems continued after the teams left the field and the players had to be separated in the tunnel. TV footage showed objects being thrown and police were reportedly called in to restore order.
When asked about the incidents at his post-game press conference, Guardiola simply said he had “nothing to say”.
Put under further pressure in connection with the head injury sustained by Foden in another weak tackle by Felipe in the first half, Guardiola said: “I’m not talking about the referees or the opponents either.”
There was also an indication that Guardiola had thrown liquid at him as he headed towards the tunnel.
He said: “Everyone saw the action but I have nothing to say.”
Guardiola preferred to focus on his players’ determined effort to secure a result amid fierce provocation and an intimidating atmosphere.
“They pushed us very hard,” said Guardiola. “Atletico were outstanding in the second half and we forgot to play. We were in big trouble and they had chances to score.
“We had one or two clear chances in the first half, but they were much better in the second half of the second leg. But at the same time we defended with everything.
“We had to adapt. We couldn’t have the ball and we felt the pressure. We’re in the semi-finals and it’s an incredible achievement for our club.”
Atletico manager Diego Simeone also refused to comment on the controversy.
Simeone said: “I always think that justice should be implemented by other people. It is the arbiter who should enforce justice.”
Commenting on his team’s overall performance, Simeone said: “We are disappointed because we were eliminated. You always want to win no matter how you win. Winning is the most important thing.
“But of course it was a very difficult duel against an exceptional rival. We contained their strength and they only had a couple of chances.
“We played better in the second half and created chances that could have won us, but we weren’t clinical.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/champions-league/pep-guardiola-says-man-city-in-big-trouble-for-fa-cup-semi-clash-with-liverpool-after-picking-up-injuries-in-atletico-battle-41552929.html Pep Guardiola says Man City have “big problems” for FA Cup semi-final game with Liverpool after picking up injuries in clash with Atletico