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City struggled to cope with semi-final occasion – Bale

Gareth Bale believes Manchester City’s poor performance in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid was due to their lack of experience at that stage of the competition.

The Wales international was involved in the only goal of the tie in Wednesday’s second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, seeing his shot deflect off Fernando and past Joe Hart to seal a 1-0 aggregate win.

Madrid’s win puts Zinedine Zidane’s team into a repeat of the 2014 final against Atletico Madrid as they – and Bale – eye a second Champions League crown in the last three years.

City only produced one shot on target in the second leg, but Bale thinks that while the Premier League side struggled to cope with the occasion, Madrid also deserve some of the credit.

“It’s a new occasion for them, they have not been in this position before and it is never easy in these games,” the 26-year-old told reporters.

“I think experience probably told a lot over the two legs. We have a lot of experience of being in the semi-finals and before I was here they have been in them before.

“We did a very professional job, we limited them and the reason they didn’t have chances is because we did such a good job on them.

“Maybe they lacked a bit of ambition going forward, but that is down to us. We kept it tight and limited their chances and ultimately got the goal.

“At 1-0, City always had a chance. If they had thrown everything at us and we had gone down the other end and then nicked another goal, then it’s game set and match

“I guess you could say they could have thrown a little bit more at us, but they didn’t. I felt like we controlled both games and I don’t think they had a shot on target.”

Bale believes City’s appointment of Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola – who will join the English outfit on a three-year deal from the start of next season – will improve their European performances.

“I am sure he will [improve them],” said the winger. “He is a world class coach and he has done well wherever he has gone.”

Thu 5 May, 2016
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