Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City, joked that he might field “nine forwards” to defeat Leipzig in the Champions League.
Wednesday’s first leg of City’s round of 16 match ended in a 1-1 draw in Germany, with Josko Gvardiol’s header cancelling out Riyad Mahrez’s goal.
“I didn’t want to come here and lose 4-3. It will have to be more open in Manchester.”
When it comes to the speed of German teams, City “could not compete,” according to Guardiola, who led Bayern Munich to Bundesliga crowns in each of his three years in Germany.
“We don’t have the team to compete with them with a lot of transitions, they are better than us and they are faster than us, except Kyle (Walker) and Erling (Haaland).
“The pace they have, we don’t have it.”
Perhaps, said Guardiola, “Maybe in the second leg I will be crazy and decide to play with nine strikers. But I’ve coached in this country and I analysed Leipzig and I needed this type of control.”
After the final whistle, the City manager called his team out onto the field for an impromptu motivational speech in an effort to boost their spirits.
“They had their heads down, I told them ‘Why are your heads down, put your heads up,” the Spanish manager said in the post-game press conference.
The manager of Leipzig, Marco Rose, explained how his team was encouraged to stop “playing City’s game” during his “started quietly and ended up a little bit louder,” halftime speech.
“I told them ‘what are you doing, coming into a game like this and standing deep – that wasn’t the plan.”
Rose declared himself to be confident going into the second leg on March 14 in Manchester, although he also acknowledged that “to go to City, we’d rather have a 3-0 advantage to feel better.”