Manchester City Boss Manuel Pellegrini was quick to remind the world his side were not the favourites in their quarter-final tie against Paris Saint-Germain - “not before the game and not after this game" - despite drawing 2-2 away on Wednesday night.
City claimed a draw after goals by Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who had already had a penalty saved by Joe Hart earlier in the game – and Adrien Rabiot saw PSG take the lead following Kevin De Bruyne’s 38th-minute opener. Fernandinho levelled in the 72nd minute with a deflected goal after Serge Aurier and Thiago Silva failed to shut down Barcary Sagna’s cross.
There were mistakes on both sides but PSG boss Laurent Blanc credited a strong City team for forcing errors that allowed the visitors to draw level.
Manchester City's Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini (C) talks to Manchester City's Argentinian forward Sergio Aguero (L) during the UEFA Champions League
Image credit: AFP
“There were a lot of technical mistakes,” said Blanc. "I don't know if we were weak but there were many mistakes in terms of building up our play and in two of these mistakes it allowed Man City to score important away goals.
"This is our main regret. We made mistakes we're not used to but maybe it's the quality of this City team and the way they pressed us."
Pellegrini hails 'very good result' against PSG
Meanwhile Joe Hart admitted: "It was a terrible first goal for us to concede after being 1-0 up.
"I've given Fernando the ball and he obviously thought there was an option to pass inside and the big man put his size 15s on it and it went in."
What the media said
David Ginola was unimpressed with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s game.
Rio Ferdinand wasn't sure if City have what it takes to progress.
Pellegrini is no doubt right that it was a good result for City, who now go into the second leg with the edge, and Hart was also quick to hail the victory, saying: "Two away goals is great, hopefully we make them count. We are making history for this club.”
However, Pellegrini was also right to admit to making “important mistakes that we cannot make if we want to continue in the Champions League.” Indeed it was the defensive weaknesses of the team, still lacking injured captain Vincent Kompany, that allowed those mistakes to be made, despite Hart’s praise for the back four, who he said he was “proud of.”
Zlatan: PSG didn't put in a good performance
With Blaise Matuidi and David Luiz both booked, PSG will be without them in the second leg, which may well work to City’s advantage. Nonetheless Pellegrini said: "we must not talk about the semi-final. It's very important now to play the second leg at home not thinking we have already qualified.”
Pellegrini is also right to warn against complacency, if City’s season in the Premier League – and their solitary clean sheet in nine Champions League games - is anything to go by. This match is far from over.