Real Madrid shocked Manchester City in the Champions League
Manchester City has created a rich history under Pep Guardiola, and this season should have been the crowning achievement of the Catalan if the Citizens had won the Champions League and continued to dominate the APL. After a crushing (not in terms of score, but in terms of emotional perception) defeat in Madrid, Man City risks being without any trophies at all and drowning in tears of disappointment. The departure of Guardiola’s team from the Champions League, and even so painful, cannot pass without leaving a trace. There is every reason to believe that with their miraculous comeback at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid not only secured a ticket to Paris, but also placated their future rival for the final, bringing them closer to the championship.
Real broke the back of Manchester City’s motivation
Manchester City is used to winning the English championship, under Guardiola have already taken three titles, on the tournament distance of a difficult tournament consisting of 38 matches, moving rolling, taking advantage of the undoubted advantages of the soccer system of Josep and the most quality “long” lineup in the league. “Man City continue to rivet victories in the APL on class and inertia, but after so many triumphs the domestic league matches are not so exciting. City’s priority was to win the Champions League, and Guardiola has been very clear about that:
We have to win the Champions League. Then we can get international recognition. Can we do that? I do not know. However, it is worth noting that we have tried for five seasons to dominate. Our team has always struggled for trophies.
Last season Man City felt the Champions Cup at arm’s length, this time we were going to take the trophy, taking into account the bitter experience of losing to Chelsea in the final. From the remarks of the players and coaches, we can conclude that the backbone of Manchester City’s motivation this soccer season has been the pursuit of winning the Champions League. While that carrot on the rod loomed ahead, there was enough spirit to go with the APL matches. “Real Madrid deprived Guardiola and his team of their main incentive, Man City was left alone with four league games to go before the end of the season. Nothing more good awaits them.
From now on, the contenders for the English crown are in unequal conditions
Unlike Liverpool, who have already won the English League Cup and will play in the FA Cup and Champions League finals in May. “The Reds claim the Quadruple, the mere existence of such a possibility should inspire them to feats: Klopp’s team feels invulnerable, because they have not yet lost anything. Maybe it will play a cruel trick somewhere, or the euphoria will wear off by the Champions League final, but right now Liverpool are in great spirits, while Man City are plunged into frustration.
A defeat in a Champions League semi-final can happen to anyone, but it is important to consider the circumstances here. Firstly, Real Madrid’s comeback was too unexpected and shocking: if a child has no candy, he will live peacefully, but if you hand him a candy and then violently take it away, hysteria is inevitable. Second, City is not a great team mentally. Third, the Champions League relegation leads to a perfectionist crisis, which Guardiola undoubtedly is.
Such people are capable of brilliantly doing a large and complex work of very high quality, but as soon as they make a mistake – carry the next one, the further process loses its meaning for them, because the result obtained will not be perfect. And if that’s the case, there’s no reason to put in the best effort, because everything is already ruined. In Liverpool’s championship season, City were 18 points behind first place – at one point, the Reds’ advantage turned off Guardiola’s perfectionism, just as a Champions League exit, on which there was a big bet, might turn it off now.
Motivation wanes and pressure mounts on City
Psychologically, Liverpool are in a much better position. The Reds already have a trophy and two finals to go. They will fight to the end, but they are well aware that the season can turn out amazing even without winning the Premier League. “City can only please themselves with a win in the APL, the pressure, and with it the fear of making a mistake, is growing. It is impossible to forget such a pain straight away, and they will not let you. Every slip-up could be fatal. Guardiola’s team plays well when everything is good around them, but in the last rounds of the season they will need not only the skill but also the mentality which has cracked.
The gap from Liverpool is one point in four games before the finish of the season. Winning one point in four rounds is easier than scoring two goals in a minute and a half, as Real Madrid did. Such analogies will surely be on the mind on the eve of the match against Newcastle, the closest one on the calendar. “The Magpies are no gift these days; after the winter transfer campaign, they left the relegation zone, where they spent half the season, far behind and climbed to tenth in the standings. And now they can also have an impact on the championship race.
The game against Newcastle is the most important one, because in four days it will be difficult to recover from the fiasco in Madrid. If Man City remain without a win, the team’s confusion will only increase, and Liverpool will almost certainly take the title. However, the Reds themselves still have a game to play against Tottenham, and City have difficult away trips to Wolverhampton and West Ham, and Steven Gerrard will bring his Aston Villa to the Etihad in the last round. Determination is on Liverpool’s side at the moment, and City’s missed out on the title fits the laws of their chosen genre quite well.