pep guardiola manchester city

Guardiola plays down ‘tactical genius’ tag after win over Real Madrid

Pep Guardiola played down the praise of him as a “tactical genius” following Manchester City’s victory over Real Madrid in the last-16 of the Champions League.

The Premier League champions produced one of the finest European results in their history by beating the 13-time winners in the first leg of their last-16 meeting, becoming just the third English side to secure victory at the Bernabeu.

Guardiola’s tactical approach and team selection puzzled many prior to kick-off in the Spanish capital, though the game plan worked perfectly as City dominated for large periods against their illustrious opposition.

The City boss had been lauded following the result and performance, though the Spaniard has been quick to refute the acclaim that has been bestowed upon him since Wednesday night’s win.

“First of all, I think you are wrong. You didn’t learn. The line to win or lose is so tight. Forget about my changes, many times they were a disaster and on Wednesday it worked but it doesn’t count.

“Still people don’t learn that the manager who wins is a genius and the other is a disaster. It doesn’t work in that way.

“Sometimes you don’t win because the margin in that competition is so tight. If [Sergio] Ramos kicks the ball and they score the second goal the City manager would have been a disaster and perfect for [Zinedine] Zidane. Little details make the difference.”

“It is in three weeks and before that we have the Carabao Cup, Sheffield Wednesday (in the FA Cup) and the Premier League. A lot of times I make a substitution and it doesn’t work. I don’t believe in these kind of things.”

Read: De Bruyne admits players sometimes surprised by Pep’s tinkering

See Also: Five of British football’s toughest ever players