Pep Guardiola on Lionel Messi: It is impossible for Man City to control the Paris Saint-Germain striker | football news
Pep Guardiola admitted that it was impossible to control Lionel Messi throughout the match after he helped the Argentine defeat Manchester City in the Champions League.
Six-times world player of the year scored his first goal against Paris Saint-Germain as the French side avenged last season’s semi-final loss with a 2-0 win in the group stage on Tuesday.
Messi was suspicious before the match but he proved his fitness by scoring a stunning goal after 74 minutes of a tough encounter at Parc des Princes, adding to Idrissa Gana Guy’s early shot.
City boss Guardiola is well aware of the damage Messi can do to teams after the duo’s success together for Barcelona, which included two Champions League wins.
“We dealt with PSG first, but we know that it is impossible to control Leo for 90 minutes,” Guardiola said.
“He wasn’t in contact with the ball much – of course he was coming back from injury, he needed a little bit of rhythm – but we know very well when he can run and get close to the ball, he can’t be stopped.
“What we have done is reduce, as much as possible, that kind of option and create the chances that we can create and I am satisfied with the way we played.
“People can’t deny that we were there. We got here, we played our game, but it’s always a risk when you lose the ball and they can make one pass, especially with (Marco) Verratti, an exceptional and extraordinary player, connect with Neymar and Messi and they can run , this is difficult.
“We played a really good game, but we should have scored and we didn’t. That’s why we lost.”
Guardiola added that he “loved” Italian midfielder Verratti, but it was inevitably Messi who captured the praise.
Messi’s first goal at Paris Saint-Germain was 673 in his career and seventh against Manchester City in the Champions League, more than any other player, while the Argentine has now scored seven goals against teams managed by Guardiola, which is also the biggest goal of any player.
“I wish him well,” Guardiola said of his former Nou Camp star. “If he is happy and enjoys this period in Paris, I will be happy.”
Premier League champions Manchester City will have to choose themselves for them Super Sunday A trip to the league leaders Liverpool – live Sky Sports Premier League.
Guardiola confirmed that recovery from Tuesday’s match in Paris will begin immediately, adding: “Now we will eat well tonight, we will drink a glass of wine, recover and then prepare for the match. [at Liverpool] Sunday.”