Manchester City Have Same Chance As Real Madrid To Reach Final, Says Manuel Pellegrini
Manuel Pellegrini does not believe Real Madrid are favourites after a goalless draw at the Etihad in the Champions League semi-final first leg – and says Manchester City will not fear going to the Bernabeu.
The visitors had the better opportunities in a tight contest on Tuesday night, with Jese and Pepe both going close to breaking the deadlock in the second half.
City rarely threatened at the other end and will have their work cut out to progress in the return leg on Wednesday, May 4.
No team has managed to score at the Bernabeu in the Champions League this season, but Pellegrini said: “I don’t think they are favourites. As I said before, we have the same chance as Real Madrid.
“Of course, they have the advantage to play the first game away so they tried to manage the pace of the game and after that they will finish at home.
“But we play away very similar to the way they played at the Etihad. Against PSG, we drew and we won against Sevilla and Dynamo Kiev so we are not afraid to go to the Bernabeu and we will see which team plays better then.”
City only had one shot on target in the first leg, and Pellegrini added: “It was a very close game. We tried from the beginning to win. We pressed high and we controlled the ball very well, but we were not very creative. We did not create clear chances to score.”
Real only created a couple of clear chances themselves, but Joe Hart was called into action to save from Casemiro and also Pepe.
“It was very important the double save from Casemiro and the rebound from Pepe,” said Pellegrini. “He didn’t have much work during the whole game but Joe is a good goalkeeper and he appeared at the right moment.”
Before they travel to Spain for the second leg, City travel to Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday as they continue their top-four bid.
“It’s a difficult game against Southampton,” said Pellegrini. “Unfortunately for us, we are going to have one day’s less rest than Real Madrid.
“We wanted to change our game but it was not possible to so we play on Sunday. But we trust what we are going to do.”
Asked about the fitness of David Silva, who was taken off before half-time with injury, Pellegrini added: “David had a slight strain in his thigh. It is difficult to say now (whether he will be involved).
“It is probably tough for him to recover in just one week. We’ll have a clearer idea tomorrow.”