Pep Guardiola makes Atletico vs Man City prediction & warns players to ‘control emotions’

The Manchester City manager thinks he will face a different Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano next week.
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Pep Guardiola has said he expects Atletico Madrid to slightly alter their approach for next week’s Champions League clash, compared to how they played at the Etihad on Tuesday.

It is Manchester City who hold a first-leg advantage in the quarter-final tie, with Kevin De Bruyne’s well-taken second-half finish proving to be the only goal of the game.

For long periods of the match, however, it looked as if City might struggle to find a breakthrough goal, with Atletico sitting deep and limiting the spaces for the hosts to attack into.

Long spells of Tuesday’s game proved to be frustrating for Pep Guardiola and his team. Credit: Getty.Long spells of Tuesday’s game proved to be frustrating for Pep Guardiola and his team. Credit: Getty.
Long spells of Tuesday’s game proved to be frustrating for Pep Guardiola and his team. Credit: Getty.

In fact, Guardiola described Atletico’s tactics as 5-5-0 when speaking after the game. But the Catalan also felt there was a switch in Atletico’s mentality after De Bruyne netted in the 70th minute, and explained this may give a little insight into how the Spanish champions will set up for the second leg in Madrid next Wednesday.

“After 1-0, it was a little bit different,” Guardiola told reporters in his post-match press conference. “[Thomas] Lemar started to jump and the players started to press higher and make more combinations.

“I guess the game in Madrid will be more like what happened in the last 15/20 minutes after the goal, than what happened before. But we have to prepare and adapt for both sides.

“Now we have five days to prepare for a Premier League game and we analyse what we can do to attack a little bit better, and go there to not try and defend the result, but to try to win the game.”

City must control emotions

As always with Atletico, their players were happy to engage in some of football’s dark arts at the Etihad, with a few robust challenges, calling for cards and trying to provoke the opposition.

Jack Grealish was on the receiving end of these less-savoury moments more than any other City player, and he was furious with Angel Correa in the latter stages for kicking the ball at him while lying on the ground, which spun off his chest and hit the 26-year-old in the face.

Guardiola stepped in to pull Grealish away from a second-half confrontation with Correa. Credit: Getty.Guardiola stepped in to pull Grealish away from a second-half confrontation with Correa. Credit: Getty.
Guardiola stepped in to pull Grealish away from a second-half confrontation with Correa. Credit: Getty.

Guardiola even had to intervene to pull Grealish away from the melee that ensued, and the City boss explained his team must avoid being drawn into conflicts like that in the second leg.

“We have to control our emotions and do what we have to do,” said the former Barcelona manager. “There are things we are not good at.

“There will be a referee there and we will have to do our game, prepare tactically and mentally for the game in an incredible stadium.

“They face these kinds of knockout stages many times, Atletico Madrid, more than us, and it will be a good test for our maturity.”