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Pep Guardiola warns Man City the job is only half done against Paris St Germain

Paris Saint-Germain v Manchester City – UEFA Champions League – Semi Final – First Leg – Parc des Princes
(Image credit: Julien Poupert)

Pep Guardiola warned the job was far from over after his Manchester City side claimed the initiative in the Champions League semi-final against Paris St Germain.

City produced a superb second-half fightback to come from behind and win the first leg in the Parc des Princes 2-1 on Wednesday with crucial away goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez.

The French side then had Idrissa Gana Gueye sent off as they lost their composure in the latter stages.

City will now hope to finish the job in next week’s return encounter at the Etihad Stadium but, after PSG dominated the early stages, Guardiola is fully expecting Mauricio Pochettino’s men to hit back.

The City manager said: “It’s just the first 90 minutes and there is hard work to do. When a team has Neymar, 10 minutes left, 10 against 11, and he provokes fouls and actions to create actions with (Kylian) Mbappe, it shows the personality of this club.

“This club wins the French league every year, they were in the final of the Champions League last year. They know exactly what they have to do to handle these types of games.

Riyad Mahrez (centre) scored the winner as City came from behind in Paris

Riyad Mahrez (centre) scored the winner as City came from behind in Paris (Julien Poupert/PA Wire)

“Hopefully we can be ourselves in the second leg.”

City paid the price for a slow start as Marquinhos headed PSG ahead after 15 minutes.

It was a lead the hosts deserved after an impressive opening in which Neymar looked particularly dangerous on the break.

Guardiola felt his team were too cautious in the first half but hailed their mature response after the break.

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He said: “We started good but we conceded a goal and in general we were shy. We could not express what our responsibility is. Everyone played safe and did not have the personality to go through and play.

“The second half was much better. We regained the ball quick. We were more aggressive without the ball and, with it, passionate. We found the goals and wanted to score more.

“The question is simple. If we play shy and not who we are everything can happen and PSG have the quality to turn it on.

“But if we play the way we played the second half, who we are, maybe we will have the chance to reach the final.”

Guardiola encouraged his side to be

Guardiola encouraged his side to be “themselves” at half-time (Julien Poupert/PA Wire)

Guardiola admitted he could understand why his team were timid early on.

He said: “We faced a team that scored four goals at Camp Nou, three goals in Munich.

“It is a team that is able to do whatever they want because they have the quality to do it. That’s why when you start the game you are a little bit cautious.

“At half-time I said, ‘I’m not complaining, I understand you feel the responsibility. But understand how to handle this and be ourselves, don’t be shy. If we lose, we lose. If we don’t get to the final we will try again next season. But try to play our game like we spoke’. And they were fantastic.”

Pochettino was frustrated his side could not build on their early advantage but is determined to fight back next week.

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino is determined to fight back

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino is determined to fight back (Julien Poupert/PA Wire)

Pochettino said: “We’re very disappointed with the two goals. It’s difficult to accept that this happened in the semi-final – it’s really painful.

“In the second half they were more consistent. It was difficult for us to cope. Physically they were a little bit more aggressive and it was difficult for us to recover the ball.

“But in football you need to believe. We go there in six days and will try to win and score goals. Of course we are under a little bit of pressure but in football you need to try.”