Pep Guardiola thanked his entire squad after revealing how a tactical change at half-time helped secure Manchester City a place in a first-ever Champions League final.
Riyad Mahrez struck twice City produced a superb overall performance to beat 10-man Paris St Germain 2-0 on the night at the Etihad. The Paris-born winger struck in every half, adding to his effort in the first leg, as the Premier League leaders took a 4-1 aggregate victory.
PSG launched a lot of attack as they tried to chase the tie in unexpected icy conditions. But Mahrez’s second just past the hour was a fatal blow.
As in the first leg, PSG lost their cool in the last stages. Angel Di Maria was sent off for an irritating stamp on Fernandinho after the ball ran out for a throw-in.
Speaking after the game, Guardiola said BT Sport: “It’s for all of us and for the club. I’m incredibly proud and my first thoughts are with the players who haven’t played today. They all deserved to play, everyone made a contribution and now is the time to enjoy it.
“We have to win the league and we have two or three weeks to prepare for the final.
“They put a lot of players in the middle. We struggled a lot in the first half at high pressure and we changed at half time.
“We got the ball better in the second half. It was a lot better in the way we played and 4-1 overall against a team that beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich and that means a lot to us.
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Calm the key to the city
“They win the league every year, they’re a team built to win, they fought to the end. It was a huge team but we were so composed.
“We fought together and we are in the Champions League final and those are fine words.
“People think it’s easy to get to the Champions League final. Getting to the final now makes sense of what we’ve been doing over the past four or five years.
“Every day these guys have been consistent and it’s remarkable. We scored a goal in the hips in the first game, and today Marquinhos hit the bar in the first half – you may be missing for the little details.
“United won a title because of John Terry’s slip and at the last minute against Bayern Munich. Real won a title against Atletico in the 93rd minute. It’s a competition that’s so tough and something in the stars is involved.
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