Football

Man City coped with expectations of having to beat Dortmund: Guardiola

Pressure was on Guardiola's side to beat Dortmund due to contrasting forms

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola knew their Champions League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund would be no walk in the park, despite the recent form of both clubs, so he was pleased to come out of yesterday morning's (Singapore time) first leg with a 2-1 advantage.

City went ahead in the first half through Kevin de Bruyne before Marco Reus scored an 84th-minute equaliser, but Phil Foden grabbed a last-minute winner to tip the balance in favour of the English Premier League leaders.

Guardiola's side lacked their usual sharpness in the final third, but the Spaniard said his team had to deal with a huge burden of expectation - thanks to their red-hot form coming into the match and Dortmund's struggles in the Bundesliga.

"When you win 26 games in 27 and they are not winning the Bundesliga, the pressure is on our shoulders," he said.

"Everything is guaranteed for us. Everybody believed we would win. We have an incredible commitment and desire to go through."

Dortmund, who host the return leg next Thursday (Singapore time), have seen their title hopes vanish. They now look unlikely to grab a place in the top four, while City, who take on Leeds United in the EPL on Saturday, are looking to complete a Quadruple.

Guardiola said he would look to make some adjustments for the return leg, but stressed they would not be going to Germany to sit back and defend.

"I asked the players to win the game. We did it and now we go to Dortmund not to defend. We'll adjust our pressing, adjust our build-up and play 90 minutes to try and reach the semi-final," he added.

Guardiola hailed the performance of the 20-year-old Foden, who looked a real danger towards the end of the contest.

"Phil was brilliant in his aggression in the last 30 minutes, he was our threat," the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona coach said.

"Second half, he played really well, and one against one arriving in the final third, he had two, three chances to score and finally did."

DE BRUYNE EXTENDS DEAL

There was more good news for City and their fans after the club announced yesterday that de Bruyne had signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the Etihad until 2025.

The Belgium international, whose existing deal was due to expire in 2023, turns 30 in June and now looks set to see out his career at City.

"I could not be happier, this football club is geared for success" said de Bruyne, who joined them in 2015.

"It offers me everything I need to maximise my performance, so signing this contract was a straightforward decision.

"I am playing the best football of my career and I honestly feel there is more to come." - REUTERS, AFP

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