London (AFP) – Ilkay Gundogan feels that a great weight has been lifted off the shoulders of Manchester City after they reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2016.
Pep Guardiola’s men put three successive years of quarter-final frustration behind them as they saw off Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday to reach the last four.
Midfielder Gundogan admits pressure had grown on the team because of those failures in Europe, despite regular domestic success.
“It means a lot,” said the German. “We have obviously struggled in the last few years to achieve what we (have now) achieved. We always failed in the quarter-finals.
“It is releasing and something we deserved, something we deserved already, maybe, in recent years. So it is special now to be in the semi-finals.”
City were given a scare in the second leg at Signal Iduna Park, falling behind to a superb goal from impressive England international Jude Bellingham.
That levelled the tie at 2-2 on aggregate but City fought back to win 2-1 on the night, and 4-2 overall, with a penalty from Riyad Mahrez and a fine strike from Phil Foden.
“We didn’t play well in the first 15 minutes and we were a little bit afraid,” said Gundogan, who reached the final with Dortmund in 2013.
“Dortmund were active and I guess they deserved the first goal. Then we adapted a couple of things in our game and I think we dominated after their goal.”
The result maintained City’s quest for an unprecedented quadruple.
The Premier League leaders and League Cup finalists now turn their attention to their FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday.
“I don’t like to talk about the quadruple because there is still a long way to go,” said goalscorer Mahrez. “You have to take it game by game.
“Saturday is the FA Cup semi-final and we have to go and win. Then it is the Premier League and then the final of the Carabao (League) Cup. One game at a time and we will see where it takes us.”
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Amazon secure Champions League rights in UK for first time
- France international Tolisso completes return to Lyon
- Celtic ‘only getting better’ after making Jota deal permanent
- Man City sign German goalkeeper Ortega
- Tottenham complete signing of £60 million Richarlison
- Where to find Boca Juniors vs. Banfield on US TV
- Where to find USMNT U-20 vs. Honduras U-20 on US TV
- Vitinha joins PSG in club’s first off-season signing
- Serie A reaches TV rights deal with Abu Dhabi Media
- ESPN reveals Women’s Euro 2022 commentators and analysts