Pep Guardiola said he was relieved to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League after Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach secured a place in the last-16 with a game to spare.
And the Manchester City boss was hopeful that regardless of what team they face in the knockout stages, advancing to the quarterfinals and beyond was a realistic goal for the squad.
Guardiola has never gone out before the semifinal stage in his managerial career and avoided a group stage exit by scurrying a point in Germany.
“We have qualified with one game left and it’s a big compliment for the team,” Guardiola told a news conference. “We made a good performance. After Borussia’s goal the game was not in our hands and it changed a little bit.
“We have qualification in the pocket until February so now we can concentrate on the Premier League and be so satisfied.
“These players are so new in Europe and every time we play a game like this we improve. We have to go to Europe and play in the same way. In some minutes we believed it, in others we didn’t. But we are so so happy tonight.”
One concern for Guardiola is that City failed to win any of their group games away from home.
“In Barcelona it was quite tight but with 10 against 11 it was tough,” he said. “Tonight we controlled our results. I know how difficult it is to win away in the Champions League. You have to be so so happy because big important teams in Europe won’t be in the next round.
“The first time ever in semifinals was last year. When we analyse the six games we have played, I’m so happy.
“Hopefully in the last 16 we can make a good result away and qualify for the quarterfinals.”