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18th Apr 2024

Pep Guardiola says Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne asked to be taken off against Madrid

Niall McIntyre

Pep Guardiola says Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne asked to be taken off in Manchester City’s Champions League quarter final loss to Real Madrid.

Having gone behind early on thanks to a goal from Rodrygo, Manchester City subsequently dominated the game but they struggled to break through Real Madrid’s resolute defence.

Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden all missed chances for Guardiola’s side, before they eventually levelled the game and the tie thanks to a Kevin De Bruyne goal after 76 minutes.

City’s dominance continued but Real Madrid held out, and despite having 67% of the possession, 33 shots on goal compared to Madrid’s eight, Manchester City couldn’t get a second goal to put their noses in front.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 17: Manchester City Manager Josep Guardiola reacts during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg match between Manchester City and Real Madrid CF at Etihad Stadium on April 17, 2024 in Manchester, England.(Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

In the end, it was heartbreak for City as they lost out on a penalty shoot-out, with Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic missing the crucial spot-kicks.

Kovacic and Silva may not have taken penalties had Haaland and De Bruyne remained on the pitch but Guardiola says that they asked him to be taken off. ‘They could not continue,’ he said, raising doubts about their participation in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea in Wembley.

City have a busy period coming up, with a game against Brighton the following Thursday in the Premier League before they travel to Nottingham Forest on the Sunday.

“Erling and Kevin asked me to go out, like Manu, they could not continue,” Guardiola said after the game.

“The game we were playing they were amazing and I am not a big fan of making a lot of substitutions but Kevin, Erling and Manu asked me to go out.”

“Now we will rest and on Friday we travel to London to play the game,” he added when asked if they will recover in time for Saturday.

“We will see how people will react. Of course the recovery is easier when winning, rather than losing, but it is the semi-final of the FA Cup and we will try to compete as much as possible.”

“I don’t have any regrets about what we have done. Always we try to create more chances and concede less, because we believe that helps you to win and we did everything,” added the Spaniard.

“I would have preferred to win but congratulations to Real Madrid,” Guardiola continued. “They defended so deep with incredible solidarity and we did everything.

“We played exceptionally in all departments and unfortunately we could not win.”

“Bernardo asked to take it, he’s a reliable player and decided to shoot in that way. What a game he had played. It happens.”

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