MANCHESTER — Manchester City appeared in total control in a surgical second-half dismantling of Bayern Munich today but Pep Guardiola looked aghast when a reporter asked if it was the most comfortable he and his team have felt this season.
“It was not comfortable at all, emotionally I’m destroyed,” he said, prompting laughter. “I (aged) 10 more years today.”
Nevertheless, City took a huge step towards a first Champions League title with a 3-0 victory over the visiting German powerhouse in the first leg of the quarter-finals.
Scoring machine Erling Haaland netted his 45th goal of the campaign, a single-season record for a Premier League player, in his maiden campaign. Rodri, with a highlight-reel strike, and Bernardo Silva also scored, taking City’s extraordinary goal differential to 34-3 in their last nine games.
Still, Guardiola said there would be no resting easy until they have faced his former team at Allianz Arena next Wednesday.
“To knock out these teams you have to have two good games, not one,” the Spaniard said.
Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel agreed.
“Football is football, a home match in Germany is a home match in Germany, and it will not be over until we’re in the shower,” said Tuchel, whose Chelsea side won the European Cup in 2021 in City’s lone appearance in the final.
Today’s game in blustery rain was tight until midway through the second half. Both keepers were kept busy.
“Part of the game they were better than us,” Guardiola said. “The second half, after we adjusted something, and in the last part of the game, the last minutes of the game, we were better, we scored three fantastic goals, we had more chances.
“Yes, an incredible result, but I know a little bit what it means at Allianz Arena … I’ve been there many, many times, three years (as manager) there and I know in Europe this team is special.”
Tuchel took over as Bayern boss last month after the surprise sacking of Julian Nagelsmann.
The new manager stressed to his players not to focus on today’s result.
“Because I think it’s not a deserved result. It does not tell the story of this match,” Tuchel said.
“That will be the challenge, to focus on the things that we did good. We played with personality we played with courage, we played with the right attitude and played with a lot of quality.”
Bayern are six-time European champions and lead the Bundesliga from Borussia Dortmund while the Champions League title is the one trophy to elude Manchester City, who are chasing Arsenal in the Premier League title race. — Reuters