The former Barcelona coach has attracted criticism in the past for his strategies in the advanced stages of the Champions League
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola had a withering response for his critics after getting the better of Real Madrid in Wednesday’s Champions League comeback victory.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach enjoyed a sterling record in the competition while at Camp Nou, but has since struggled to replicate that success in Germany and England.
A succession of knockout defeats have seen questions raised over his strategy in European matches, but there was no arguing with the result in Wednesday’s first leg as Madrid were sunk in a frantic end to proceedings at the Bernabeu.
Gabriel Jesus rose over Sergio Ramos to cancel out Isco’s opener before Kevin De Bruyne converted a penalty to give City a priceless victory away from home.
Madrid’s woes were compounded when Ramos earned a late red card, ruling him out for the return leg at the Etihad Stadium.
But when questioned on his tactical approach to the game, Pep – who devised a more cautious strategy than is custom to keep tabs on Madrid’s dangermen – did not expect to receive any plaudits.
“It doesn’t count because we won, it doesn’t work that way,” the manager joked to BT Sport. “The important thing is the way we played.
“We tried to come here to win the game and we did. This is just the first part. If one team can overcome this situation, it’s this club.
“When we were better, we conceded a goal. When they were better, we scored a goal. That’s football. I remember the quarter-final a few seasons ago at Anfield when we played incredibly well and they scored all their shots on target.”
City’s joy was tempered by another injury concern for defender Aymeric Laporte, who missed the first half of the season with a knee problem.
Fernandinho was thrown into the line-up as an emergency centre-back and left his boss more than happy with his performance.
“After five months injured in this scenario it’s so demanding. Fernandinho came in and did incredibly well. I’m so proud,” he added.
“This is the first step. It’s not over. We can enjoy the moment. On Sunday we have a final. We’ll keep going in the Premier League and prepare for the second game against Real Madrid.”
City will be back in action on Sunday when they take on Aston Villa in the final of the Carabao Cup.