Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is dreaming of guiding the club to their maiden Champions League final after seizing control of the blockbuster tie with Paris Saint-Germain.
Last season’s runners-up PSG looked on track to clinch a semi-final first-leg advantage over City thanks to Marquinhos’ 15th-minute header before the English visitors produced a second-half comeback.
Outplayed in the opening half on Wednesday, Kevin De Bruyne’s awkward cross-cum-shot found the back of the net just past the hour-mark and Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick put the Premier League leaders ahead seven minutes later.
Under the current format of the Champions League (since 2003-04), City became the first English side to win 10-plus games in a single campaign.
City – on the cusp of winning the Premier League – have never reached the Champions League final.
“What we have done is incredible and we compete really well. In the latter stages you cannot compete for 90 minutes perfectly,” Guardiola, who led Barcelona to two Champions League titles, told reporters.
“Of course it is a dream to reach the final for the first time and we are going to do it, knowing if we are able to do what we done for 55-60 minutes or be more cautious thinking about the result, being cautious and having to defend, or thinking about winning the game.
“We are going to play the game with the mentality we will have a good chance to go through.”
10 – Under the current format of the @ChampionsLeague (since 03-04), @ManCity this season are the first English side to win 10+ games in a single campaign, with Real Madrid (in 2011-12), the only one of the five other such sides failing to go on and lift the trophy. Promise. #UCL pic.twitter.com/momj7dqedM
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 28, 2021
City have now won their past 18 away matches in all competitions, scoring 46 goals during the run while conceding just nine.
In the history of the European Cup/Champions League, there have been 47 instances before City’s victory over PSG of an English side winning the first leg of a two-legged knockout tie away from home, and on all 47 occasions the English team has progressed.
Guardiola added: “I was happy in the locker room after the players were just calm. Not cheering, just calm. Anything can happen in the second leg… I know it.
“We have the pressure because we have a good results and want to reach the final but I am not talking about the consequence of the result, I am thinking about what we have to do to be ourselves.
“Now we prepare for Palace because we want to win three Premier League from the last four years. And now I am going to analyse the team. PSG can change to another system and shape and many things can happen.
“We have a feeling when they are near our box how dangerous they are. We scored two goals away from home but everything is open. And I have the feeling my players know it. So it is not necessary to tell them.”