Pep Guardiola slams his Manchester City side for 'forgetting to attack' in Basel defeat

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
The City boss was not a happy man following the defeat.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola criticised his heavily rotated side for “forgetting to attack” despite reaching the Champions League quarter-finals 5-2 on aggregate over Basel on Wednesday.

City suffered a first home defeat in 15 months as the Swiss champions came from behind to win 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium and salvage some pride from their last-16 tie after being thrashed 4-0 on home turf in the first leg three weeks ago.

“From tomorrow we will be happy to be in the quarter-finals for the second time in this club’s history. We are new in that position, so we are so happy for that,” said Guardiola.

“Even the first half was quite good, in the second half we forgot to attack, we forgot to play.

“Just to pass to pass for itself is nothing, so the second half was really, really poor.”

Guardiola could afford the luxury of making six changes from Sunday’s dominant 1-0 win over Chelsea, but still saw his side extend their aggregate advantage early on when Gabriel Jesus tapped home after just eight minutes.

However, Mohamed Elyounoussi exposed some slack City defending to smash in an equaliser for the visitors nine minutes later before Michael Lang rocketed home a spectacular winner 19 minutes from time.

“It’s special for us to beat this team and we go out of the Champions League with a decent performance in a very difficult situation,” said Basel coach Raphael Wicky.

Michael Lang's goal 19 minutes from full time won it for Basel.

Michael Lang’s goal 19 minutes from full time won it for Basel.

City could have the Premier League mathematically wrapped up by the time they are next in Champions League action in early April.

And on this evidence they will need the likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva to be well-rested and in-form if they are to deliver the dream of their Abu Dhabi owners by winning the European Cup for a first time as a number of youngsters and fringe players failed to impress.

“I understand after we see the second half the people that say the team is not ready to fight for everything,” added Guardiola.

However, the Catalan coach hopes a three-week break following Monday’s trip to Stoke will leave his side refreshed for the last eight.

“We are in the quarter-finals, that is the good news, and after we will see how we will arrive in the quarter-finals.

“We have one more game on Monday and then we have three weeks off. (Due to the international break, City’s next game is not till March 31 against Everton.) In 180 minutes it is 5-2, so we are so happy to be in the next stage.”

Leroy Sane was one of few regular starters retained in Guardiola’s starting XI and continued his supreme form by creating the opener.

Jesus hadn’t started since suffering knee ligament damage on New Year’s Eve, but had the simplest of tasks to get back among the goals when Bernardo Silva latched onto Sane’s pass to produce a inch-perfect low cross for the Brazilian.

City should have gone even further in front as Silva’s shot from a dangerous Sane cut-back was blocked before Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik made a fine block to deny Ilkay Gundogan his third goal of the tie.

However, a minute later Basel were level as Blas Riveros burst down the left and his deflected cross was dispatched powerfully past Claudio Bravo by Elyounoussi.

Guardiola grew visibly frustrated on the touchline as his side also started the second period slowly.

And they were punished when Elyounoussi’s low cross was blasted past Bravo at his near post from a narrow angle by Lang.

Most popular

Seven Deadly Stats from Wednesday night's Champions League matches

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Basel brought City's home unbeaten run to an end.

Two identical results in the Champions League on Wednesday night had vastly different impact. While Manchester City‘s 2-1 loss at home to Basel was inconsequential – though no less impressive, from the Swiss champions’ point of view – Spurs’ home loss to Juventus by the same scoreline meant their European campaign ended in heartbreak.

In both matches, the English side took the lead before losing, with Spurs’ inability to hold their advantage costing them a place in the quarterfinals.

Here are Seven Deadly Stats from Wednesday’s matches.

THE SCOURGE OF ENGLAND

Basel boast a proud record against English sides over recent seasons. Just beating Manchester City away from home is an achievement in itself, but for the Swiss side, it simply kept up a track record of success against the Premier League’s best.

JUVE’S ONE-TWO PUNCH KNOCKS OUT TOTTENHAM

Spurs had one foot in the door of the quarter-finals after dominating Juventus in the first-half and taking a 1-0 lead. Even at the hour mark, they looked in control. But seven minutes later, they were down and out.

CITY PASS, PASS, PASS, BUT LOSE

City produced a repeat of Sunday’s performance against Chelsea in one way – their passing stat was yet again a record. Of course, it meant much less on Wednesday as Basel took the victory anyway, which just goes to show how poor Chelsea were.

ALLEGRI GETS HIS REVENGE

Massimiliano Allegri was the opposing manager the last time Spurs won their Round of 16 tie – back in 2011, when Tottenham beat Allegri’s side 1-0 on aggregate, winning the away leg before drawing at home. Revenge is sweet.

LAPORTE, THE PERFECT PEP SIGNING

There’s a reason Pep Guardiola pursued Aymeric Laporte for so long before finally signing him. The Manchester City defender’s ability on the ball stood out yet again on Wednesday. If only he and his fellow defenders hadn’t conceded twice.

HIGUAIN FLIPPING THE SCRIPT

Everyone thinks Gonzalo Higuain is the sort of player who wilts under pressure, and for a good part of his career, that criticism could easily be justified. Not anymore. When Juventus needed him most, he delivered, yet again.

AN UNLIKELY PAIR

City’s dominance at home is such that it’s difficult for opposing sides to even get a sniff, making Basel’s feat on Wednesday all the more impressive. They ended City’s 36-game home unbeaten run and joined a surprise club by scoring twice.

Most popular

Manchester City reach Champions League quarter-finals despite 2-1 defeat to Basel

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
A victory but not good enough to advance: Basel

Manchester City slipped to their first home defeat since December 2016 as Basel won the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie 2-1.

It was not enough to prevent Pep Guardiola’s side progressing to the quarter-finals, with Gabriel Jesus’ early goal helping them to an overall 5-2 aggregate success – but it was still an unexpected slip.

Jesus put the Premier League leaders ahead inside eight minutes but the Swiss champions responded to take victory on the night with goals from the impressive Mohamed Elyounoussi and Michael Lang.

Guardiola made six changes from the side that beat Chelsea at the weekend with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva among those not included – and not surprisingly the intensity dropped.

Veteran Yaya Toure started for the first time in 13 games and 17-year-old Phil Foden was also given an opportunity.

Back in the starting line-up too, for the first time since suffering a knee injury on New Year’s Eve, was Jesus – and the Brazilian was quick off the mark.

Leroy Sane cut through the Basel defence with a trademark run and Bernardo Silva played a low cross through the legs of two defenders to present Jesus with a simple tap-in at the far post. It was his 11th goal of the season but his first since November and his celebrations showed his relief after two frustrating months on the sidelines.

Basel, determined not to let down their large and noisy group of travelling fans, hit back in an attempt to at least make a contest of the game on the night.

Dimitri Oberlin robbed Oleksandr Zinchenko before firing over and Elyounoussi thumped in an equaliser after a Blas Riveros cross was deflected into his path. Elyounoussi beat Danilo to get through on goal again but could not get a shot away before Riveros shot at Claudio Bravo.

City appeared at times to be going through the motions but they also had chances as Riveros blocked a Silva shot and Tomas Vaclik saved at Ilkay Gundogan’s feet.

The pace dropped even more in the second half and City showed little urgency, seeming content to control possession without threatening in the final third.

The introduction of Brahim Diaz after the hour did inject some energy into midfield but City were caught out soon after as Basel took a shock lead on the night.

Aymeric Laporte switched off as Elyounoussi cut back from the right and fed Lang, who rifled a shot past Bravo at the near post.

City’s place in the last eight was never in doubt but they went through in subdued fashion and have still never won both legs of a Champions League knockout tie.

Most popular