Manuel Pellegrini thinks Manchester City were unlucky to crash out of the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid.
Fernando diverted Gareth Bale’s shot into his own net after 20 minutes of the semi-final second leg at a deafening Bernabeu, sending City crashing to a 1-0 defeat both on the night and on aggregate.
It was no less than the Spanish side deserved after creating a host of chances while City struggled to create any momentum after captain Vincent Kompany – yet again – was forced off injured early in the match.
But City boss Pellegrini did not agree with official statistics that said Real had 15 attempts on goal to his side’s four and claimed defeat was harsh on the visitors.
The Chilean said: “I think we didn’t deserve to lose this game. I think Real were very lucky with their goal, or we were very unlucky because it was a deflection that put the ball in the top corner.
“None of the teams deserved to win and we should have gone to penalties. It is not that we saw Real Madrid better than us, but with the ball we were not creative enough to damage their defence.
10 – Real Madrid have kept a clean sheet for the 10th time this CL season, equalling the CL record set by Arsenal in 2005-06. Wall.
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) May 4, 2016
“I think we worked very well the whole game, that is why Real couldn’t create many chances – but after that we needed creative players who could make the difference in the last third and we couldn’t (do it).
“I don’t think they had 15 attempts. I don’t know what the statistics make as attempts.”
City were again indebted to goalkeeper Joe Hart for keeping them in the tie. The England number one made a series of fine saves, including three from fit-again dangerman Cristiano Ronaldo, while Bale also headed against the bar.
City’s opportunities were few and far between with Fernandinho hitting the post in the first half and Sergio Aguero shooting narrowly over late in the game.
One away goal would have changed everything but Pellegrini claimed there were no regrets about how his team was set up.
He said: “No, not any regrets. Both teams, not only our team, couldn’t really create. It was the same as the first leg, both teams without any clear chances.
“None of these two teams was able to overcome the defence of the other one, either in England or Spain.
“The difference was minimal. I don’t think Real Madrid demonstrated tonight they are a better team than Manchester City.”
3 – Real Madrid’s progression means three of the last four Champions League finals have been between teams from the same nation. Familiar.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 4, 2016
Kompany suffered a groin injury and will be assessed on return to Manchester but he could miss City’s remaining two games of the season.
Real will now play city rivals Atletico in the final in Milan later this month. It is a repeat of the 2014 final, which Real won to clinch their record 10th European title.
Bale, who scored in that final two years ago, is already looking forward to the clash.
Former Tottenham star Bale, whose strike against City was officially recorded as a Fernando own goal, told BT Sport Europe: “The reason I came here was to win Champions Leagues.
“I have got one already and now I have a chance to win another one. Obviously it is great to be in the final again, but there is another game to go against a very stubborn Atletico Madrid team.”