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Pep Guardiola calls on Manchester City players to sharpen up in front of goal

Borussia Monchengladbach v Manchester City – UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 – First Leg – Puskas Arena
(Image credit: PA Wire via DPA)

Pep Guardiola claimed his Manchester City side will need to sharpen up in front of goal despite a comfortable Champions League victory over Borussia Monchengladbach.

The Premier League leaders eased towards the quarter-finals of the competition with a routine 2-0 win in the first leg of their last-16 tie against the German side in Budapest.

Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus scored either side of half-time – both goals created by Joao Cancelo – while Monchengladbach offered little, but Guardiola was concerned about a lack of clear-cut chances.

The City boss said: “In general we played really well but we were not clinical enough up front.

“The actions one against one – with the keeper, with the defenders – we have to be more clinical. You have to finish the action, at least make the keeper make a save and we didn’t do it.

“We created a lot of chances, we arrived in final third, the process was good, but have to finish better. In this competition you have to improve.

“In the Premier League we can drop points, we have a margin, but in this competition you don’t have that chance. We have to be better.

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“I know we have the quality to do it – I am not concerned about this – but, when you ask me my opinion on the game, if there was something I would like to improve it would be that.”

Despite that frustration, City looked in complete control for most of the game as they racked up their 19th successive win in all competitions.

Cancelo was outstanding, curling in a superb cross for Silva’s opener and sending another fine delivery into the box in the build-up to Jesus’ strike.

Guardiola said: “He drives with the ball and at the central defenders. He is a player with a huge quality and his physicality is overwhelming.

“If we played another game tomorrow he would be ready to play. In the final third, he was brilliant. Two beautiful goals.”

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Silva also caught the eye, with the Portuguese not only finishing the first goal but also having a hand in the second with a cushioned header from Cancelo’s cross.

Guardiola said: “He has a special sense and quality to play football. He is an exceptional player.”

City now look certain to get another crack at the quarter-finals, the stage that has proved their undoing in the past three seasons.

Guardiola is not looking that far ahead yet.

He said: “We were thinking just win this game. Now enjoy the night with the best food as possible and think about West Ham in three days.

Borussia Monchengladbach v Manchester City – UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 – First Leg – Puskas Arena

Pep Guardiola is not getting carried away despite his side’s win in Budapest (PA Wire via DPA)

“The second leg is in three weeks. The next target is West Ham. That is my only concern.”

Monchengladbach coach Marco Rose admitted it had been a tough night for his side.

He said: “We came up against a brutally good team that we had to fight against. In that type of form, they’re so hard to stop.

“Especially in the first half, we barely broke into the final third. We defended relatively well but it’s so hard when they keep throwing everything at you.

“We could have done things better and we will analyse the match. It would have been nice to score a goal to be in a better situation.”

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