Pep Guardiola hailed the brilliance of Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden after the pair mixed to offer Manchester Metropolis the sting of their Champions League tie in opposition to Atletico Madrid.
Foden got here off the bench to tee up De Bruyne for a Seventieth-minute winner in a tense and tight quarter-final first leg on the Etihad Stadium.
The strike ensured Metropolis would carry a 1-0 benefit into subsequent week’s return conflict within the Spanish capital.
Reflecting on De Bruyne’s composed end, supervisor Guardiola mentioned: “He’s in the very best second of the season proper now.
“He’s sharp, fast and optimistic. His affect in our sport is very large. He scored an distinctive objective from the mix with Phil.”
De Bruyne had earlier examined Jan Oblak from a free-kick however alternatives had in any other case been few and much between as Metropolis, regardless of dominating possession, have been pressured to play a affected person sport.
Atletico have been dogged and defensive and it took the introduction of Foden as a part of a triple substitution within the 68th minute to power them open.
Foden slipped in De Bruyne inside moments of approaching and the Belgian fired residence from a decent angle.
Guardiola mentioned of Foden: “He has a particular high quality. His reception is all the time ahead, his house in step one is very large and he had the composure to make an unbelievable help for Kevin.”
Guardiola felt his aspect produced an expert efficiency to grind out what might show a significant win.
He mentioned: “It was a troublesome sport in opposition to a troublesome opponent. For 25-Half-hour we performed 5-5-0 because it was so troublesome to search out the areas.
“However we have been affected person sufficient, besides within the first 5-10 minutes of the second half, once we attacked with not the appropriate rhythm.
“It was a very good consequence. Sadly on the finish we (missed) one or two extra probabilities to attain however 1-0 going to Madrid offers you confidence.”
The sport resulted in scrappy trend with quite a few stoppages as Atletico let their frustration present.
Guardiola now expects the second leg to be a stop-start affair with Atletico trying to disrupt Metropolis’s rhythm.
He mentioned: “I suppose a part of the sport shall be extra of what occurred within the final 15-20 minutes after the objective. That is my feeling. We’ve got to arrange and adapt.”
Jack Grealish, one other substitute, did get caught up in a few of the guests’ antics late on and Guardiola confused the significance of maintaining composure.
He mentioned: “We’ve got to manage our feelings and do what we’ve got to do. There are issues we’re not good at however there shall be a referee there.
“Atletico Madrid have confronted these type of knockout phases many occasions greater than us and it is going to be a very good take a look at of our maturity.”
Atletico coach Diego Simeone conceded the higher aspect received however feels his staff are nonetheless alive within the tie.
He mentioned: “It’s a unhealthy consequence as a result of we misplaced 1-0 and we have been trying to win.
“It’s clear we have been taking part in in opposition to a rare opponent. The numbers and statistics communicate for themselves and so they play in a really dynamic manner.
“We needed to endure however we’ve got to go to Madrid now and use the instruments we’ve got at our disposal.
“We should be higher however we’re nonetheless within the tie. Let’s see if we will have the ball extra within the second leg and create extra difficulties for opponents.”