Kevin de Bruyne’s performance regales England, Atletico Madrid still believes in a comeback and Romelu Lukaku is doing everything to return to Inter, find in your Foot Mercato press review the latest information from the European sports press.
De Bruyne and City impress England
In England, the Champions League quarter-final clash between Manchester City and Atlético de Madrid is making headlines! And it is the Skyblues who won 1-0 thanks to a goal of Kevin de Bruyne. So it’s “City advantage”, as The Guardian summarizes on its front page. “De Bruyne calms Atletico’s ardor”, wrote the British daily. The Times has the same story on its front page this morning, which also looks back at Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over Benfica. But the most important thing to remember this morning is the goal of Kevin de Bruyne. For the Daily Star, the Belgian “gives Guardiola a boost.” Finally, in France, L’Équipe also gives its front page a look at this victory and makes a play on words by saying that “City has been Zen.”
Atlético wants to believe in the return
Of course, in Spain, the Madrid newspapers are positive! This is the case of the newspaper Marca, which states on its cover that “we can believe”, despite this defeat (1-0). “De Bruyne breaks the wall of the Cholo, but the Wanda Metropolitano will decide.” The same goes for AS, which believes that “everything will be played at the Metropolitano”, next week. “The Colchoneros are confident before the return home. Simeone said: ‘They are the best in the world, but we will compete as much as we can’.” In any case, for the Iberian press, Atletico should not be ashamed of their performance even without a single shot on goal. For El País, “Atlético has resisted against City.” Will this be enough for the return? Nothing is less certain.
Lukaku wants to return to Inter
We cross the Alps and there too the mercato settles on the front page of La Gazzetta dello Sport this morning. The pink paper announces that “Inter has a plan to postpone its 20th Scudetto: It will be stars for stars!” “Inzaghi is studying the dubbing operation: Correa and Gosens are the additional weapons hoped for by the coach.” But what is interesting on this front page is the future of Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian is pushing to return to the Nerazzurri. “Lukaku’s pressing continues: he phoned to ask to return.” Information that should not please Chelsea… But in any case Inter also have other plans. As reported by Tuttosport, the Milan club will do everything to recruit Paulo Dybala, who is at the end of his contract in June with Juve. “The objective of the leaders would be to associate the Joya with Lautaro Martinez and thus have a dream duo in attack!”
Champions League : Pep Guardiola shoots down Atletico Madrid
Winner with Manchester City of a very defensive team of Atletico Madrid (1-0), Pep Guardiola did not appreciate the style of his opponent.
The lock of Atletico Madrid finally broke last night at the Etihad Stadium. The Spanish defense, until then well in place in this quarterfinal first leg of the Champions League, could not do anything against Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne’s finish (70th). A short 1-0 victory and a fair reward for Pep Guardiola’s troops, who were able to stay focused throughout the game despite an opponent team that refused to play.
The five-man Colchoneros defense led by the trio Savic-Felipe-Reinildo had managed during the first half to anesthetize the game. It took Guardiola’s coaching and the introduction of the England international to change the game. “It was a very tight and difficult game. They are masters when they all defend together at the back. It’s difficult, but we managed to prevent them from running too much,” remarked the Catalan coach after a game he didn’t like so much. “We didn’t concede any chances in the end. It was a question of patience.”
Guardiola criticizes the style of the Colchoneros
The fault of the very defensive system set up by Cholo Simeone. Atletico came to not concede a goal (or as little as possible), and did not even bother to attack in this game, Griezmann and João Félix were content to defend in their camp, too far from the opponent’s goal to hope for any counter. “We sensed that they would play a 5-3-2 and we came out three or four times on the wings. Then they adjusted and put Griezmann on the far right and João on the left and they went to 5-5,” Guardiola continued.
“Even in prehistoric times, today or in 100,000 years, attacking against two lines of five is very difficult. There is no space… They are very competitive and defend very well (…). We scored the goal but I suspect that in Madrid it will be a game similar to the one we saw in the last 10-15 minutes after the goal,” Guardiola worried in the post-match press conference. And yes, the Cityzens’ technician is not at the end of his troubles. There are still at least 90 minutes of hell against Atletico.