Pep Guardiola insists Barcelona are the ‘best team in the world’ after Manchester City triumph

The former Blaugrana boss admitted the game could have been over before Ilkay Gundogan’s double and a sumptuous Kevin De Bruyne free-kick sealed a famous wi

Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City were forced to survive against the ‘best team in the world’ before bouncing back to defeat Barcelona 3-1.

Lionel Messi’s sublime goal had gifted Luis Enrique’s side the lead and the hosts barely clung on as the La Liga champions spurned several glorious chances.

A gift in the form of a Sergi Roberto stray pass led to Ilkay Gundogan’s first goal – followed by Kevin De Bruyne’s free-kick and the German’s second – but Guardiola insists beforehand the Etihad witnessed the very best in football.

“For the first 38 minutes we saw the best team in the world,” claimed Guardiola. “If Barça score the second goal, then the game’s done.

Manchester City 3-1 Barcelona Pablo Zabaleta celebrates after the game

“Our goal here changed everything. Our players realised the bad moment was over. Kevin helped us a lot as a second striker.

“If we could have finished counter-attacks, we could have had the game won before.”

Guardiola also believes it has been tough for City to match sides in the Champions League due to just six years now since their debut in 2010.

“When a club like Manchester City goes 25 years without Europe, it’s hard to fight face to face with them,” Guardiola pointed out. “We showed many, many good things.

Ilkay Gundogan celebrates scoring their third goal with team mates
Ilkay Gundogan celebrates scoring their third goal with team mates

“Today is a good step. We play against a great team and we compete. Now they will realise, ‘wow, we won against the best team.’

There was finally some praise for Aguero, who started for City tonight having been dropped at the Camp Nou for the first meeting between the sides.

“Aguero played awesome! Sergio is so important,” raved Guardiola. “Without him we cannot achieve our targets. I am so happy for him because he was so happy.”

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