Pep Guardiola says it’s an ‘honour’ for Manchester City to be in the last eight after easing past Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League – and insists he’s NOT worried about the prospect of facing another English club in the quarter-finals
Pep Guardiola reflected with satisfaction after Manchester City formally confirmed their Champions League quarter-final place on Wednesday.
The Premier League leaders had all but secured progress with their 5-0 thrashing of Sporting Lisbon in the first leg of their last-16 tie last month but they still needed to finalise the matter in the return.
They did that with little alarm as they played out a routine goalless draw without truly exerting themselves against a side already resigned to elimination.
Pep Guardiola said Man City deserved their place in the Champions League quarter-finals
City boss Guardiola said: ‘I am very pleased because in both games we deserved to be in the Champions League quarter-finals.
‘The first half was much better than the second. We were aggressive, we created chances and we were there.’
With open draws from now onwards, City could face another English team.
Man City are through to the Champions League quarter-finals after beating Sporting Lisbon
City were beaten by Chelsea in last year’s final and have also been knocked out by Liverpool and Tottenham in recent seasons.
Asked if that could bring more pressure, Guardiola said in his post-match press conference: ‘I would say no. It is difficult for us but for them too.
‘We are in the last eight best teams in Europe and we will prepare well, and next Friday we are going to see the draw and we are going to prepare.
‘It is an honour to be there, some important teams are already out. We will see next week what happens.’
Gabriel Jesus (centre) did score for City in the second half but it was ruled out for offside
Such was City’s control of proceedings that Scott Carson, the veteran former England goalkeeper, was sent on the closing stages.
It was only the 36-year-old’s second City appearance and his first in the Champions League since his spell at Liverpool in 2005.
He was soon into the action and made a good save to deny Paulinho on a rare Sporting attack.
‘We are delighted,’ said Guardiola, who also gave run-outs to youngsters CJ Egan-Riley, James McAtee and Luke Mbete.
Scott Carson (left) made a cameo off the bench for City and made this great save late on
‘He is very important for us. Behind the scenes the chemistry is fundamental in the locker room and the people listen to him a lot when he talks. And he made the biggest save to not lose the game.’
Sporting coach Ruben Amorim felt holding City to a draw was an impressive effort from his side.
‘We played a hard game,’ he said. ‘In the second half we improved and I’m satisfied enough. It’s always positive not to lose away to a powerful opponent like this.’