Manuel Pellegrini insisted Manchester City cannot be billed as favourites to reach the Champions League semi-finals, despite emerging from the Parc des Princes with a 2-2 quarter-final first-leg draw against Paris Saint-Germain.
Fernandinho’s second-half equaliser, after Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Adrien Rabiot had cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne’s opening goal, ensures City will go into next Tuesday’s second-leg at the Etihad Stadium with two potentially crucial away goals.
But Pellegini, whose Malaga team controversially lost to Borussia Dortmund at this stage of the competition in the 2012-13 season, claimed that City must still earn the right to overcome PSG to progress to the last four.
“I don’t think we are favourites, before the game or after the game,” Pellegrini said. “You never have a favourite team between big teams like Manchester City and PSG.
“So we must not talk about the semi-final because this is a very good team with very good players.
“They play the same way away as at home, so it will be a difficult 90 minutes in Manchester.
“It is important to keep our mentality, but this team has the personality and believes in what we do.”
Costly mistakes by both teams led to goals at either end, but Pellegrini insists that the attacking intent of both sides contributed to the errors at the back.
“Both teams made some mistakes, but both have more mentality as attacking teams,” Pellegrini said. “It’s the way they play.
“We made a couple of important mistakes for the first goal and the second goal was offside. In the first half, if we want to win, we cannot make those kind of mistakes.
“But we are trying to win the game from the first minute, it is the way we play.”
Pellegrini reserved special praise for De Bruyne and Eliaquim Mangala, whose performance contributed to City’s result.
“One player can change a team,” Pellegrini said. “Kevin was was very important before he made the injury and he played the same tonight as he did before the injury.
“And Mangala played very well the whole game. He makes mistakes that people talk a lot about, but when Mangala plays, we normally win.”
Pellegrini, meanwhile, suggested that captain Vincent Kompany could return from a calf injury to face PSG in next week’s second-leg.
“We will see how Vincent is,” Pellegrini said. “He has trained and we will see how he improves.”
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