Pep Guardiola insisted he has never criticised Atletico Madrid’s style of play after seeing his Manchester City side scrape into the Champions League semi-finals.
City were on the ropes for much of the second leg at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium but clung on for a goalless draw to seal a 1-0 aggregate win.
A fiery match concluded with a huge melee in the corner that saw Felipe sent off for the hosts. The row continued into the tunnel as players from both sides had to be held back with police forced to intervene.
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When asked about the footage in the tunnel, Guardiola simply responded: “Nothing to say.”
Guardiola had referred to “pre-history” when discussing Atletico’s tactics prior to the first leg at the Etihad, which many interpreted as a bard towards Simeone’s defensive approach.
However, the Spaniard denied that was his intention after his side booked a meeting with Atletico’s city rivals Real Madrid in the last four.
“I just said that in the past, today or in the future it is always difficult to face a team who defend very well. I only said that," insisted Guardiola.
“I always said good things about the club and the team. El Cholo [Simeone] can play the way he wants, nothing else."
Simeone, for his part, did not seem to buy the explanation.
"I have no reason to comment about whether somebody says good or bad things,” he said.
“Often those who have a wide vocabulary are very smart, and they can praise you with disdain. But those of us who maybe don't have as much vocabulary, we are not stupid either."
City came under intense pressure from the home side, particularly in the second half, with John Stones delivering a statement display in defence.
"They pushed us a lot, they were excellent in the second half. We forgot to play and we were in big, big trouble. The second half, they had chances to score, we had just one,” said Guardiola.
"We defended everything but they had the chances. What would happen if they scored from the last action? The mental strength would not be there? Of course it would be there. So they gave everything.
“They know this competition and this stadium, with all the people it is always difficult. So that's why it's a big compliment for the players because we have to live [through] these kind of situations.
“We cannot expect that every time, especially in the Champions League, with the champions of Spain, we are going to make everything marvellous. You have to suffer. We suffered in part because we forgot to play but partly because the opponent was really, really, really good.”
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