‘What these players have done in the toughest year is incredible’: Pep Guardiola heaps praise on his stars and dedicates PSG win to former Manchester City legends who helped on long road to Champions League final
- Manchester City reached their first ever Champions League final with PSG win
- 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 at the Etihad on Saturday
Guardiola hailed the collective spirit of his side after Riyad Mahrez scored twice to down Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 on aggregate.
‘I’m incredibly proud,’ the City boss said. ‘Everyone has made their contribution. There is something in the stars that is involved.
‘It’s a competition that’s 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 those here when I arrived: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, David Silva. Many, many players helped us to this stage and the guys from Abu Dhabi. I want to share it with all of them.’
City will head to Istanbul on May 29 to face either Chelsea or Real Madrid, who meet tonight.
Guardiola will wrap up a third Premier League title in four years with victory over Chelsea at the 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,’ Guardiola added. ‘Thank you so much. It was so weird playing a semi-final in an empty stadium. This achievement should have our fans there. The club belongs to the people.
‘We were so composed. We suffered together. We defended so well. To win against a team that beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich means a lot to us.
‘What these players have done in the toughest year is incredible. There are a lot of incredible people working behind the scenes. Reaching the final helps with the bigger picture of the last four years, to understand what we’ve done. That’s unfair but it is what it is.’
Kyle Walker (right) leaps in celebration after Mahrez made it 2-0 to Manchester City
Kyle Walker said: ‘It’s what you dream about. I’m buzzing. We’ve sharpened up defensively. You have to control your nerves. We settled and started believing in ourselves.’
Mauricio Pochettino’s side later lost their heads and saw Angel Di Maria sent off for kicking Fernandinho following Mahrez’s second goal of the night.
‘They lost their nerve 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 alleged that Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers used foul and abusive language towards multiple players as tempers flared.
‘We talk about respect with referees… the referee tonight said f*** off to Leandro Paredes,’ Ander Herrera said.
Marco Verratti added: ‘He said f*** you to me. I talk to referees a lot but I never say that or I get a ten-game ban.’
Marco Verratti (second right) argues with referee Bjorn Kuipers (second left) after the match