Manchester City’s winning run was cut short by Mauricio Pochettino’s star-studded Paris Saint Germain side in their second Champions League clash of the season. Idrissa Gana Gueye scored the first goal within the first 10 minutes and later Lionel Messi combined with Kylian Mbappe to score the second to put the game beyond the reigning Premier League champions.
At the post-match press conference, Pep Guardiola shared his feelings as he lauded Italian midfielder Marco Verratti. The Spaniard even said that he is in love with the Italian international as he controlled things from midfield and never allowed City to run them over.
While Messi scored a fantastic goal, Pep Guardiola’s heart was taken by Verratti with his all-round robust performance in the middle. “I’m in love with him. He is exceptional,” Guardiola said. “Even under pressure, he manages to find those passes that allow the midfield to be free.
“He’s not a player for long passes but you can always count on him to build the game. We managed to control him better in the second half but in the first half he was really exceptional.”
Manchester City were not clinical at all as they failed to score despite creating a truckload of chances in the match. Paris Saint Germain on the other hand took their chances and were far more clinical in front of goal.
Guardiola admitted that it is not easy to contain so many star players. He highlighted how they tried to limit the ball supply to Messi but the Argentine still found a way to score. He feels it is impossible to have Messi, Neymar and Mbappe in a single team but PSG have a team and hence they are not easy to control. He compared this trio with the Messi, Suarez and Neymar trio back in FC Barcelona.
“They can take the space,” Guardiola said. “They are exceptional players, like Messi-Suarez-Neymar at Barca. Not many teams can have these players. PSG has them. We can’t control them. I know two solutions: defend and pray or take the ball and create with it.
“It’s hard to control Messi for 90 minutes. It’s hard to stop him and we had to minimize the opportunities for him to touch the ball. Tonight we did what we know how to do, good or bad, but we are what we are. Tonight there was also Verratti who was extraordinary and managed to find connections with Neymar.”