Pep Guardiola has admitted that it would have been difficult to manage Lionel Messi for the full game, after the Argentinian was instrumental in sinking Manchester City in the Champions League.
The six-time World Player award winner scored his debut Paris St Germain goal as the French team avenged their defeat in the semi-finals of last season’s championship by securing a 2-0 group stage win on Tuesday.
Messi was doubtful prior to the start of the match, but he proved his capabilities with his stunning strike after 74 minutes of a thrilling game in the Parc des Princes, adding to Idrissa Gana Gueye’s first strike.
City manager Guardiola is aware of the harm Messi can cause to teams, following their achievements together at Barcelona that also included 2 Champions League wins.
Guardiola stated: “We dealt with PSG first, but we’re aware that it’s difficult to manage Leo for 90 minutes.
“He was not connected to the ball. Of course, the fact that he was returning from injury, and he required some rhythm but we all know when he’s able to move and run closer to the ball, he is unstoppable.
“What we’ve done is minimized the chance of having such possibilities and to create the best chance we can create. I’m pleased with how we performed.
“People will not deny that the team was there. We came here, we played our game, but there is always a chance in the event that you’re not able to catch the ball. They can perform one pass, in particular in the case of (Marco) Verratti, an incredible, exceptional player and come into contact with Neymar and Messi and they’ll be able to run, it’s a challenge.
“We played a very good game, but we could have scored goals but did not. We lost because of that.”
Guardiola also said that Guardiola said he was “in love” with Italy midfielder Verratti But it was Messi who was the one to receive the praises.
“I wish him the best,” said Guardiola of his former Nou Camp star. “If he is happy and enjoying this period in Paris, I will be happy.”
PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino was happy with Messi that he started his goal scoring account with the club following an unproductive start of his time in the French capital.
Former Tottenham manager admitted: “I did celebrate the goal. Usually , I don’t celebrate goals and I try to remain quiet however, today, in honour of Messi I did.
“I spent years watching Messi score goals from the opponent’s side so this time, scoring for my team, that’s great.”
Pochettino has been quick to highlight that Messi’s goal ended an excellent team performance.
He added: “You need this type of performance to be a successful player of his caliber to be in a position to score goals and to fill the net.
“Victories will always be a group and come from the team. It’s a sport that is played by a team. This victory is with one of the most successful teams around and one of the top managers. It’s clearly a excellent result, and I am extremely happy.”
The result sparked PSG’s fight in the A group following their draw in the first game with Club Brugge and lifted them above City.
Pochettino stated: “The three points are crucial. It was not easy when City performed really well, but we were able to play very aggressive and scored two goals. I’m pretty pleased.”