Man City boss Guardiola jokes he may play 'nine strikers' in return leg against RB Leipzig

First leg finished 1-1 in Germany as Guardiola concedes City will need to be 'more open' in Champions League last-16 second leg

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola joked he could field "nine strikers" against RB Leipzig next month after being held to a 1-1 draw in Germany in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie on Wednesday.

Josko Gvardiol's header cancelled out Riyad Mahrez's opener to leave the tie finely poised ahead of the second leg at the Etihad on March 14.

"I didn't want to come here and lose 4-3. It will have to be more open in Manchester," said Guardiola.

"Maybe in the second leg I will be crazy and decide to play with nine strikers. But I've coached in this country and I analysed Leipzig and I needed this type of control."

Guardiola conceded City "could not compete" with the speed of German teams.

"We don't have the team to compete with them with a lot of transitions, they are better than us and they are faster than us, except Kyle [Walker] and Erling [Haaland].

"The pace they have, we don't have it."

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The City manager gathered his team together on the pitch for an impromptu motivational session after the final whistle in an attempt to lift their spirits.

"They had their heads down, I told them 'Why are your heads down, put your heads up," the Spanish manager told the post-match press conference.

"It was a really good game the game you played. If people don't like it, it doesn't matter, you played the game the way it should be played."

Leipzig manager Marco Rose said he was confident ahead of the second leg in Manchester, but admitted "to go to City, we'd rather have a 3-0 advantage to feel better."

"We can take plenty out of the game so that we can not play another first half like we did today."

Updated: February 23, 2023, 6:09 AM