Pep Guardiola thanked his entire team after revealing how a tactical switch at the break helped secure Manchester City their place in a very first Champions League final.
Riyad Mahrez struck twice then Town produced an excellent all-round performance to beat 10-man Paris St Germain 2-0 at night in the Etihad. The Paris-born winger struck in every half and added his effort in the first leg as Premier League leaders finished a 4-1 overall victory.
PSG threw masses in attack as they tried to chase a draw under unexpectedly icy conditions. But Mahrez’s second just after the hour proved to be a deadly blow.
As in the first stage, PSG lost their composure in the final stages. Angel Di Maria was sent off for a petulant on Fernandinho after the ball was thrown into the net.
Speaking after the match, Guardiola said BT Sport: “It is for all of us and the club. I’m incredibly proud and my first thoughts are to the players who did not play today. They all deserved to play, everyone has contributed, and now it’s time to enjoy it.
“We have to win the league and we have two or three weeks to prepare for the final.
“They put a lot of players in the middle. We struggled a lot in the first half to high pressure and we switched at half time.
“We recovered the ball better in the second half. It was much better the way we played, and overall 4-1 against a team that beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and that means a lot to us.
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“They win the league every year, they are a team built to win, they fought to the end. They were a great team, but we were so composed.
“We fought together and we are in the final of the Champions League, and those are good words.
“People think it’s easy to get to the final of the Champions League. Getting to the finals now makes sense of what we have been doing for the last four or five years.
“Every day, these guys have been consistent, and it’s remarkable. We scored a goal through the hips in the first game, and today Marquinhos hit the crossbar in the first half – you can be out for small details.
“United won a title due to John Terry’s drop and at the last minute against Bayern Munich. Real won a title against Atletico in the 93rd minute. It’s a competition that’s so tough and something in the stars is involved in it. ”
REPORT: Riyad Mahrez double sends relentless Man City to the first Champions League final ever