Pep Guardiola says he has no regrets over Manchester City’s approach to their Champions League tie with Tottenham.
City won the second leg 4-3 on Wednesday, but went out on away goals, with VAR denying Raheem Sterling a last-gasp strike that would have sent Guardiola’s side through to the semi-finals.
Guardiola set his side up to restrict Tottenham in the first leg, when City were beaten 1-0, but Wednesday’s encounter was wide open, with both teams exchanging four goals in the opening 11 minutes.
Defensively, City were exposed, with Son Heung-min particularly effective against Vincent Kompany, while Aymeric Laporte lacked his usual composure, but Guardiola insists he has no concerns over the defensive organisation of his team – who face Tottenham again in the Premier League on Saturday.
“We concede a lot but we score a lot,” Guardiola told a news conference. “When we played at Tottenham people said, ‘He adapted, he is not himself, how he defended so tight, he didn’t attack’.
“And the people don’t think how many players we had coming back from injury, how we had two days regeneration, the new [Tottenham] stadium.
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“If we had the kind of game we played here away at Tottenham, we would lose three or four to zero. We have to remember the game from last season at Anfield – three shots on target and three goals.
“Now playing the way we play when we score already 154 goals, when we show a good game for everybody, for you and the spectators around the world.
“That is not going to change. It is not enough to go through. Next season we are going to try and do it. This is my 10th season as a manager, it is always what I have done. In the good moments, the bad moments, we were honest with how we want to play.
“Of course we want to improve and cut out mistakes, we know it, we talk it. The players play and make good actions or bad actions, we have to accept it.”
City were sensational at times on Wednesday, carving Tottenham open at ease, with Kevin De Bruyne putting in a brilliant midfield display and Sterling only denied a hat-trick by VAR.
“Perfection you can never get, but you have to try to achieve it,” Guardiola said when asked if his side were a perfect team.
“If it was perfection it would have been 4-0, not 4-3, or 7-0, because we created enough chances to score seven. So perfection does not exist, but you have to try.
“If you don’t correct the mistakes, the mistakes will come again, and even when you do correct them the mistakes come again. I love for my players, that they are again and again doing that, arriving in the latter stages and being there, I like it, that is where we are.”
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