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Copenhagen 1-3 Man City: Pep Guardiola proud of ‘perfect’ win but Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva suffer injuries

Pep Guardiola described Manchester City’s 3-1 victory over Copenhagen in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie as “perfect” but the result came at a cost with injuries to Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva.

City extended their unbeaten run in Europe to 21 matches and made it 11 consecutive wins in all competitions by overcoming the Danish champions thanks to goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Silva and Phil Foden.

De Bruyne struck the opener at Parken Stadium after just 10 minutes amid a dominant start which should have seen City further ahead before Grealish went off injured in the first half and an Ederson mistake allowed Copenhagen’s Magnus Mattsson to equalise.

Man City
Image:Man City made it 11 consecutive wins in all competitions by beating Copenhagen

Silva struck on the stroke of half-time to restore City’s lead and after Erling Haaland had hit the crossbar, Foden netted in the 92nd minute to move Guardiola’s side closer to the quarter-finals.

Speaking to TNT Sports, the City boss said: “It was really, really good. Today was perfect. They were patient in the right moments and I’m really proud of the team.

“The third goal helped us a lot. Hopefully, we can finish it off at home and go to the next game.

“It was important to not lose the tie here. The game was really well played from the first minute. We conceded a goal but sometimes that happens.

“In the second half, they played with five in the back but in general we did well. We didn’t concede transitions or make the crowd support the team. We had the perfect tempo so I’m really pleased.”

Man City, Grealish
Image:Jack Grealish’s return to the Man City starting XI was curtailed by injury in the first half

The only blots on an otherwise positive evening for City were injuries to Grealish and Silva. Grealish, handed his first start in six matches, lasted just 21 minutes while Silva took a knock to the ankle late in the game.

Speaking about the two players post-match, Guardiola said: “Bernardo has a big knock on his ankle. I didn’t speak with the doctor but it looks muscular for Jack, his groin.

“It’s a pity because, in the last few days, his mood in training was much better, he was playing really good, really good. He helped us to play at the right tempo.

“You cannot play so slow but you cannot play so fast against teams this organised, you have to find the right tempo and he helped us a lot.”

The normally reliable Ederson made a howler as Copenhagen hit back to make it 1-1 in the first leg of their last 16 Champions League tie.Play Video – ‘He must be bored!’ | Sherwood stunned by Ederson howlerTim Sherwood was stunned by Ederson’s howler which allowed Copenhagen to equalise

Pep: The biggest players appear on the biggest stages

It was another influential performance from City’s star midfielder De Bruyne. The Belgian scored and grabbed two assists in Denmark to take his goal involvements to nine since returning from injury just last month.

On the 32-year-old’s impact, Guardiola said: “Extraordinary. The first goal was amazing, the right pass and tempo from Phil Foden.

“The biggest players appear on the biggest stages. It’s the hour of truth. We started well. We have to do our job and finish it. I’m just really pleased for the result.”

Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring Man City's opener at Copenhagen
Image:Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring for Man City in Denmark

“I’m just trying to play good,” De Bruyne told TNT Sports. “It’s been a long five or six months but I’m just happy to be back, helping the team win games and be at my best.

“I feel alright. Obviously, I still need a couple more games and minutes. I’ve not played 90 minutes for almost a year but I’m getting there, I’m feeling good and the level is good enough for the moment – so I’m happy.”

What’s next for Man City?

Man City are back in Premier League action at home to Chelsea on Saturday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League, with coverage beginning at 5pm and kick off at 5.30pm.

Their second leg with Copenhagen at the Etihad is on Wednesday March 6.

Manchester City
Chelsea

Saturday 17th February 5:00pmKick off 5:30pm

Man City’s next six fixtures

February 17: Chelsea (H) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports

February 20: Brentford (H) – Premier League, kick-off 7.30pm

February 24: Bournemouth (A) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports

February 27: Luton (A) – FA Cup fifth round, kick-off 8pm

March 3: Manchester United (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3.30pm, live on Sky Sports

March 6: Copenhagen (H) – Champions League last-16 second leg, kick-off 8pm

SOURCE: SKY NEWS

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