Porto performance pleases Guardiola

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Manchester City Official

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Pep Guardiola was satisfied with Manchester City’s display in the 0-0 Champions League draw with Porto and praised his players’ performance across the entire group stage.

The stalemate was enough to confirm top spot in Group C for City, who dominated for 90-minutes, but were unable to find a breakthrough against the defensively minded hosts, who were indebted to goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín.

The Argentine made a string of fine saves, whilst City were denied a winner when Joao Cancelo was flagged offside in the build-up to Gabriel Jesus’ disallowed goal.

Despite being unable to break the deadlock, Guardiola was full of praise for his team’s efforts.

“We played incredibly well,” he said.

“They are one of the best teams in Portugal, with the quality they have. We played exceptionally well.

“We came here to finish first. We played with huge personality, with courage. It is not easy with eight players in the box.

“Even with that, we created enough chances to win. This is the most important thing.”

Having sealed first place in Group C with a game to spare, City can now benefit from focusing fully on our Premier League campaign during the busy festive period.

Guardiola acknowledged it poses an additional challenge when you go into the final group stage game still needing to qualify for the last 16 and says he has been particularly impressed with his team’s performances in Europe so far.

“Big congratulations to the team for the group stage,” he added.

“In this period, this year especially, the Champions League was tricky. When you lose one or two games you have to go to the last game and during COVID that is tricky.

“We know it is difficult, in other groups some incredible teams are struggling to qualify.

“In all the games away we have played a really high level. In general, I am more than delighted with the performance in these games.

“We have one left, nothing to play for, just to maintain the rhythm. Now it is time to forget Champions League and focus on the Premier League.”

It was one-way traffic in Portugal, with much of the game played in the Porto half, but Guardiola was pleased with how his defence nullified the opposition's threat on the counter-attack.

In particular, he was impressed with the centre-half pairing of Eric Garcia and Ruben Dias.

“Eric always plays good,” said Guardiola. “He is so smart and intelligent.

"[Moussa] Marega didn’t win one duel.

"Today they played two intelligent players, Ruben and Eric were outstanding, like John Stones in the last two games. That is important.”

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