Pep Guardiola spoke to the press after Manchester City's Champions League Playoff second leg win against Steaua Bucharest at Etihad Stadium. The Citizens were a little boring in the first half, but played great football in the final period and dominated the game en route to an easy victory.
Guardiola was clearly pleased by the second half performance, and gave us an insight into what adjustments he made to improve the team at halftime:
“After a short time we made a very good two games so we are ready definitely for the Champions League. The players and the club deserve it. We were the better team in Bucharest and we were the better team tonight.
“There were too many people behind the ball in the first half. We were not in the right decisions. We had Stones, Kolarov and Fernando against one player. That does not make sense.
“In the second half, we were much, much better. I’m finding we’re having a lot of possession in the first halves of games but not creating enough - I don’t like that.
“The build-up is the most important thing. If you pass, pass, with no chance. They didn’t press high, they stayed back - we have to play it to open up spaces and in the second half, we were much better.
“They had ten players behind the ball so it’s not easy. We attacked with more intensity in the second half. The spirit was again amazing so now is the day to celebrate our qualification for the Champions League.”
But the majority of questions regarded Joe Hart, who was starter and captain for City in what could be his farewell match at the club. Guardiola did not shy away from the issue, and explained the situation from his point of view. As always, Pep was honest and fair on his answer:
“Joe is still our player. I know he’s a legend for this club - one of the reasons this club is what it is because of Joe. He helped to make this team one step above so I’m so happy with the way the people treated him tonight.
“I’m here to take decisions - I make a lot of mistakes all my career as a coach - sometimes good decisions, sometimes bad. I can’t deny what I feel. I was honest with Joe, the club and myself and that’s what I always try to do.
“I would like if everyone was happy with all the decisions I take but that’s impossible.
“The coach has to take decisions which influence the players’ lives and that’s not easy. We have 28 players, so 17 players are always not playing. Do you think they are happy with the coach? They are not happy about that.
“I can completely understand if the fans are not happy. Joe did a lot with this club in the years he’s been, more than I have done - I’ve only been here for one month, he’s been here many years.
“I respect all of the guys here but I’m here and I have to take decisions and that’s what I feel.”
Being a football manager is not easy. Not at all.