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‘Maybe I’m not good enough’ – Pep Guardiola’s five-minute rant and Liverpool message after Man City knocked out of Champions League

Manchester City boss has launched into a passionate rant ahead of another big weekend in the title race with Liverpool.

The Reds are battling for the Premier League title with Man City, and are one point behind with four fixtures left to play. Liverpool take on Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday night, while City face Newcastle United a day later.

Much of the talk in the last couple of days has been dominated by Man City being knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid. Liverpool had already reached the final after seeing off Villarreal, and were close to facing their English rivals in the final.

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However, two late goals from Rodrygo and an extra time penalty from Karim Benzema saw City knocked out of the competition. Guardiola launched into an emotional response defending his players after failing to win the competition, and also offered his congratulations to Liverpool.

Here are the main questions and answers from Guardiola’s press conference on Friday, provided by our colleagues at the Manchester Evening News

What did you say to the players after the defeat to Real Madrid?

“We didn’t speak. No words can help for what all of us feel. It is just a question of time, sleep as well as possible and think of the next target. Tomorrow will be the first day we are together and we are going to talk about who we are as a team, what we have done in the semi-final, how good we have been not just in these two games but all season and try to do it over the last weeks.

“It is probably one of the moments since I am manager I am most proud to be in this club and organisation. Until the last day we are here we give everything together.

“I’m not thinking about the title, I’m thinking about Newcastle, focus on the team and Eddie Howe. After, this is what is in my mind. Not necessary to think just in case, we achieve what it is.

Is it easier to win the Premier League now?

“Determination, just to see how good we played in both games. First game better than second one. As a player and manager in the semi-final of the Champions League isn’t easy. They try to compete against an exceptional team. The focus will be the same because the potential final would be after the Premier League. The Leeds game was difficult, after this game we know four games.”

Nike have today officially released Liverpool’s new kit for the 2022/23 season. The clean-cut minimalist design will be the third designed by Nike after they took over New Balance in 2020.

As ever, the kit is available in Men’s, Women’s, and Kids’ sizes which can be found and bought on the official Liverpool FC club store.

All official Liverpool FC club merchandise, including the new shirt, can also be purchased at nike.com/liverpool-fc

Can the current Man City squad win the Champions League?

“I don’t know. It’s a question I cannot answer. Before Madrid I don’t know. Sometimes you ask me questions but I don’t have the answer to all of your questions. Football is incredibly unpredictable. We saw it. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have the feeling that the people from Abu Dhabi bought this club and invested in these incredible facilities and players like a lot of other clubs in the world to what we have lived in the last years – not to just win the Champions League. They did it to be there in all competitions every season and compete in all competitions until the end. We want to do it [win the Champions League].

“Maybe I’m not good enough to help the team to do it. Nobody knows what would have happened with other players or managers. For us, it is an honor to be there as much as possible in all competitions. I know that some people don’t appreciate what this club is doing, maybe it is not enough but for me it is incredibly remarkable being in the semi-finals of the Champions League again after last season and making steps to be there and competing against an outstanding team in this competition the way we did it home and away. We were close, not close enough because the team deserves it so Madrid are in the final because they deserve it.

“We were not close enough but we were there and this is my feeling. All my life depends on winning the Premier League, Champions League, nothing they have done since they took over one decade ago with all the players before me…doesn’t “t make sense. Next season we will try again, knowing is so difficult. Because the teams are good. Just count all the teams behind us in the quarter-finals, last-16, group stages or who didn’t qualify. How good they are and they are not there.I know the people want us to do it, since day one I will have to handle it.

“But it is not about that, it is about being there again in the Premier League, in the FA Cup being there in the Champions League semi-finals, this season it could not happen but winning the Carabao Cup four times. This is where they want to be, that’s why they seduced me to be here.They club never asked me to win any title, they asked me to play as good as possible, to compete with all the teams in England and all the teams in Europe we could play, and compete.This is the reason why.It is completely opposite to what people think.

“I’m not saying it is a failure or not. People say if this group of players won’t win the Champions League they will be failures. I accept it. – but I completely disagree. In sport we know how difficult everything’s but I accept it. I’m not going to make a debate about who is right or wrong. I say as a club, as a feeling that we have, we start and try to do it.

“We are sad. Of course we are sad. We didn’t talk because everyone was sad that we were close and we couldn’t do it. Above me, the players wanted to play in the final of the Champions League, but for this club to compete against Real Madrid the way we did it is a joy I won’t forget one week ago the way we played against them, how close we were to making it – wow.

“But we could not do it, and said ok – we had to go there and make chances. We were good, but not good enough because I give a lot of credit to what the other team are. As I said right after, congratulations to Liverpool and Madrid because they are in the final because they deserve to be there.

“We were close – they know it, we know it – but what is important is we are going to try again next season, and then again, and in the Premier League. In the Carabao Cup next season we want to go further than we did this season. This is how we became this club. Name all the clubs in Europe that are there every year and in the last years we are there. Sometimes it is not possible. In our lives, in football, sometimes you do everything and you don’t achieve it. What is the problem with that? The next day, try to do it, celebrate the good moments, the bad moments are more sad than usual, and continue to do it. I think this club is good for Este.”

Were the two quick goals down to a mentality issue?

“There is no time for [mentality], they scored 45 seconds later. There’s no time to settle down. That’s why all the analysis, how do you control that? The emotion of the players, tell me how they feel that in that moment.

“We don’t think they want to lose, they want to accept the crowd, score the second one. It’s football. It happens. We have to accept it, we tell them they have to score goals all the time. Now people say lack of character. Lack of character? What happens if Jack Grealish scores the two goals? Where is the character in Atletico when Ederson saves from Correa? That’s character but if he scores it’s no character. When Courtois saves with his feet and goes to the corner, that is no character?

“Same for ex-football players. Margins are this, we have to handle it, maybe we have more time after the kick off, know exactly when to go long ball from Eddy. You play with emotions, you have to control emotions. In that moment emotions favor Real Madrid.

“Here, when it was 3-1 in that moment we were hot, Madrid were down, I was there. One minute later, throw-in, 3-2. You have Premier League, football in this competition is momentum. The players in the Premier League know they have another game. This competition there is no time. It happened immediately.

“Madrid deserve because you’re in the final, if we scored more and defended properly like the first goal from Rodrygo, we deserve it. I never complain about things, we always can do better. Next season if we are here and together that is what we have to do. Live it, maybe it will help us.”

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