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Never underestimate how hard it is to win - and manage in

15 Abril 2018

It has been revealed what Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, actually told Spanish referee, Antonio Mateu Lahoz, during his side's 2-1 loss to Liverpool in the Champions League quarter final second leg on Tuesday. It was a while ago Liverpool was in the semis and I was in the semis and now we are there together."Guardiola admitted beforehand that his side needed the "perfect" performance and the hosts got the perfect start as they opened the scoring after just 117 seconds". And a huge obstacle to all the teams' chances of lifting the trophy was removed yesterday with AS Roma's miraculous dismantling of Barcelona.

It is understood that Shakhtar Donetsk's Fred, Napoli's Jean-Michel Seri and Borussia Dortmund's Julian Weigl are the club's top midfield targets who would each be expected to set the club back £40m or more.

Liverpool completed a 5-1 aggregate victory to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

It is no coincidence that all those humiliations took place in the wake of his Nou Camp departure and, crucially, without the services of Lionel Messi to call upon in times of trouble.

To complete a miserable six days, Guardiola also lost his cool.

Pouting high up in the stands and having outbursts at referees have also become reminiscent of the Manchester United manager in their execution.

The arch-strategist, this calculating mind - the man who came to reshape English football - was supposed to be decisive at the very highest level of the sport.

That familiar pattern has continued into Guardiola's first two seasons at the Etihad Stadium; City shipped a goal less than Bayern's dubious record in one season fewer.

With a modicum of competence from officials - and/or, it must be said, better finishing from Raheem Sterling - City might by now have the league trophy on the sideboard and the satisfaction of at least giving Liverpool a run for their money.

A batch of outstanding saves from Marc-Andre ter Stegen was the only reason Barca stayed ahead in the tie for so long, but even the German keeper was culpable for the first goal as he stayed rooted to his line, allowing Dzeko to score. From my point of view (and for full disclosure I am a City fan) it was a goal.

Liverpool do of course have a rich Champions League history, most recently with the miraculous comeback in the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan in Istanbul, although the Italians gained revenge in the final two years later.

The squad, Pep would have you believe, needs yet more surgery in the summer.

Instead, it left them chasing a last-eight encounter which should have been theirs to own. Similar was the case last night.

Never underestimate how hard it is to win - and manage in