Manchester City in fitness race ahead of Stoke City trip


The Norway global cancelled out Gabriel Jesus' opener and set up Michael Lang for the victor at the Etihad Stadium in the Champions League last-16 second leg.

Guardiola fielded a heavily-rotated starting eleven for this game and handed starts to the likes of 17-year-old Phil Foden, who became the youngest Englishman to play a Champions League knockout game.

The second half we forgot to attack.

City brought in six players following the weekend's 1-0 win over Chelsea, and Guardiola admitted the changes may have affected the team. This is due to Guardiola's vision and coaching, and, if City manage to go on and claim their final frontier of becoming European champions, it would represent a new stage in the evolution of the club as a continental power. In the second half, we were really poor. "Just to pass the ball without movement, to pass and pass for its own sake is nothing". We spoke about that and in the first half.

"We were just lacking in the same feeling in the second half [tonight] which wasn't good".

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"You create passes to create opportunities but only to pass for itself, that isn't football".

"Bernardo [Silva] and [Ilkay] Gundogan, maybe there were exhausted [from] a lot of games like at Wembley [in the EFL Cup final] and against Arsenal and Chelsea".

Still, the loss - only City's fourth in all competitions this season - came as a surprise, particularly after Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus put the home side ahead in the eighth minute on his first start in 2018.

"He fought, he needs rhythm", Guardiola added. Of course, the goal will be good for his confidence. This is exactly how Sergio Aguero has found home and the killing instinct in front of the goal - he keeps his position, passes around the ball, waits for the final delivery, positions himself accordingly and fires in. "They are fighting to stay in the Premier League, and any time you are up against a team like that it is complicated". I was not nervous, I scored a goal and I won my first title. "It was everything slowly, without rhythm".