Man City not favourites – Pellegrini

7 Apr

Aguero and Pellegrini


Manuel Pellegrini will be succeeded by Pep Guardiola at the end of the season

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini said his side were not favourites to progress after a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Paris St-Germain.

City’s two away goals mean even a 1-1 draw at Etihad Stadium next Tuesday would see Pellegrini’s side through.

“No, we are not the favourites. Not before this game and not after,” said the 62-year-old Chilean.

“Between big teams you never have a favourite. It will still be open.”

City took the lead against the French champions through Kevin de Bruyne, but went 2-1 down as Zlatan Ibrahimovic capitalised on Fernando’s error and Adrien Rabiot scored at the back post.

Fernandinho’s deflected effort 18 minutes from time earned a draw for the Premier League club, who are trying to reach their first Champions League semi-final.

“We must not talk about a semi-final,” said Pellegrini, who will be succeeded by Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola in the summer.

“We must play the second leg not thinking we are already qualified. When we qualify, we can talk about other things.”

De Bruyne has now scored in both of his games since returning from a two-month injury lay-off, after netting in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth.

“Sometimes one player can change a team. He was important before his injury and thankfully he returned the same way,” said Pellegrini.

Ibrahimovic up and down

It was an eventful night for PSG striker Ibrahimovic, 34, who had a penalty saved by Joe Hart, missed a one-on-one opportunity and also struck the crossbar.

But the Swede’s goal means he has scored in five consecutive Champions League games for the third time in his career.

“Zlatan was really on a rollercoaster – he missed a penalty and then had a really clear chance and didn’t score,” said PSG boss Laurent Blanc.

“We thought it wasn’t his evening but he kept on believing and scored.”

Former France manager Blanc is confident his side can trouble City in the second leg.

“What I will take from this game – it’s not the first time we’ve conceded at home,” he said.

“We always concede at home but in the past we’ve proven that we can score away.”

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