Pep Guardiola was delighted to belatedly take Manchester City into the Champions League semi-finals but acknowledged his side were potentially a refereeing decision away from another painful exit.

City had lost in the last eight in each of the prior three seasons, beaten by Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon.

The Spurs defeat was particularly painful, with Fernando Llorente scoring a contentious goal at the Etihad Stadium before a last-gasp Raheem Sterling winner was disallowed.

On Wednesday, at Borussia Dortmund, a handball call went in City's favour as Emre Can was penalised and Riyad Mahrez's spot-kick - his first Champions League goal since September 2019 - cancelled out Jude Bellingham's opener.

"This competition is nice but, at the same time, it's so unfair," Guardiola told BT Sport after a 2-1 away win.

"We are judged; if we are out, the season is a failure, it's a disaster, when you play 11 months for the Premier League, for the cups, for everything. This is the competition.

"Look, today it was a penalty with the hand. Maybe it could be not given.

"And we were out for a hand against Tottenham in the quarter-finals, when it was not given, incredible hands from Llorente. That's why this competition depends on these situations."

Mahrez's equaliser set the stage for Phil Foden to make sure of his side's progress, sending City into the last four for the first time since 2015-16 - also the last time Guardiola, then Bayern Munich coach, reached this stage.

Despite this drought, the 4-2 aggregate triumph - which sets up a tie against Paris Saint-Germain - saw Guardiola equal Jose Mourinho's record of eight appearances in the Champions League semis.

He added: "I'm incredibly happy for this club, this organisation, our chairman, our players, of course, our fans, everyone.

"It's the second time we've got to the semi-final. There's not much history in our club here, but we start to build it."

There are two English sides in the last four for the second time in three years, with Chelsea joining City.

The sides will also meet in the FA Cup semi-finals this weekend, with Guardiola's men continuing their pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple - a challenge he is still reluctant to discuss.

"We are in the Premier League; we need three games to be champions," he said. "We are in the semi-finals of the Champions League. We are in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. We are in the final of the Carabao Cup.

"Honestly, it's incredible what we have done. Now we just recover, celebrate tonight, and after we'll see happens.

"One game at a time. We never speak about the four titles. One game at a time. Every competition we play, we try to win it. This is what we have to do. It's simple. There's no complication about that."

Ilkay Gundogan, who had a game-high 120 touches and only lost possession 11 times, said: "It means a lot, to be honest. I think this club, this team deserves it.

"We are grateful for being still in a great competition, reaching the semi-finals for the first time with this team. Obviously we are very happy about it."

The midfielder added: "We proved ourselves I think today that we are ready to fight also in the semi-finals."

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc insisted the Bundesliga club have no plans to sell star Erling Haaland, despite their Champions League hopes fading.

Haaland has emerged as one of Europe's most sought-after players following his exploits for Dortmund, with Real Madrid, Manchester City, Barcelona, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea all apparently interested.

The 20-year-old reportedly has a €75million (£65m) release clause – valid from 2022 – but there is a view that Dortmund could be forced to cash in on their prized asset due to the team's Bundesliga struggles.

Dortmund are fifth in the standings and seven points adrift of Eintracht Frankfurt, who occupy the final Champions League qualification place with six matches remaining.

But Zorc – speaking prior to Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final exit at the hands of Manchester City – remains adamant Dortmund will not part with their Norway sensation.

"The fact is, nothing works without our signature," Zorc told Sky Germany.

"We plan with him, regardless of whether we qualify for the Champions League or not. We had a conversation with him and Erling's father.

"We have given a clear message that we will continue planning with him. It may be that [agent] Mino [Raiola] sees it differently."

Haaland was kept scoreless by semi-final bound City midweek, though he has still managed 33 goals and nine assists in 35 appearances across all competitions this season.

Among players in Europe's top-five leagues, only Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, Tottenham's Harry Kane and Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe have been directly involved in more goals.

Dortmund team-mate Jadon Sancho has also been linked with an exit after Premier League giants United were tipped to sign the England international at the start of the season.

However, Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke made it clear there will be no cut-price sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"When COVID-19 struck, we had no debt. Not one euro," Watzke told BBC Sport. "Because of that, it is a comfortable situation. We do not have to sell a player. That is important.

"The rich clubs in the world, they must know when they want a player from Borussia Dortmund there are two possibilities. The first is that I tell them they have no chance. Other times, I will tell them 'this is the price'.

"Then they must know this is the price. It is not another price. We are very clear. We are very honest."

Liverpool, April 2018:

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn't scored for three months since he smashed home a long-range strike against Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions elect are back at a bloodthirsty Anfield and Mohamed Salah already has the Reds in front, so why not have a go?

Oxlade-Chamberlain larrups it beyond Ederson and before the half hour Sadio Mane has made it 3-0.

There would be no way back for City, who would finish the Premier League season 25 points better off than Liverpool, as they threw caution to the wind in the second leg but lost 2-1.

Guardiola talked himself into a half-time red card when Leroy Sane had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside before UEFA were using VAR. The competition the Catalan threatened to make his own at the start of the decade had already become a nagging irritation.

 

London, April 2019:

After losing three consecutive semi-finals at Bayern Munich, not to mention two out of four on the occasions his Barcelona didn't win it under his leadership, Guardiola is wary of a pressure-cooker Champions League night.

Embroiled in a titanic title battle with Liverpool, he rests Sane and Kevin De Bruyne and picks an unusually cautious line-up. Nevertheless, VAR intervenes to award them a dubious penalty against Tottenham, granting Sergio Aguero a punt at a priceless away goal.

Hugo Lloris saves from City's all-time record goals scorer and there will be no away goal as Son Heung-min gives Spurs a 1-0 win thanks to an Ederson mistake

At the Etihad, all hell breaks loose as the sides trade goals and Aguero puts City 4-2 ahead on the night to lead the tie for the first time. Then Fernando Llorente bundles home and survives a VAR examination for handball. Raheem Sterling has a stoppage-time winner ruled out because replays show Aguero's heel to be offside in the build-up.

Guardiola crumples to his knees. City are out on away goals to a team that would finish 27 points behind them in the Premier League.

 

Lisbon, August 2020:

No away goals to bother City this time, as the pandemic-delayed final stages of the Champions League take place as one-off matches in Lisbon.

After seeing off 13-time European champions Real Madrid, Guardiola has to reckon with Lyon – a team who finished seventh in Ligue 1 in 2019-20.

However, one point from two games against the same opponent in the previous season's group stage spooks the City boss into a rarely used 5-3-2.

They fall behind to a Maxwel Cornet goal, their attack disjointed. De Bruyne, who appears to be fighting a lone hand, equalises but Gabriel Jesus and Sterling miss glorious chances and Ederson is culpable as Moussa Dembele's brace ensures City's biggest European humiliation to date.

Phil Foden, so impressive in the second leg against Madrid, looks on as an unused substitute.

 

Dortmund, April 2021

The last time Guardiola won the Champions League, his present tormentor was seven years old.

Jude Bellingham's slick footwork and cool 15th-minute finish at Signal Iduna Park is the sort of thing City players do quite a lot but not on these occasions.

Here was the fear, it was happening again. Everyone just stay calm… no, Kyle Walker, don't shoot from all the way over there in Gelsenkirchen.

De Bruyne is in no mood for stage fright to kick in and tears at Dortmund, rattling the crossbar. Ruben Dias, unscarred by City's previous failures, is colossal in neutering Erling Haaland. Still, at half-time they are going out.

The big occasions do strange things to even the most seasoned performers, but Emre Can deciding to break out an elephant impression while heading a cross clear is a new one.

Handball. Penalty. VAR. Still a penalty.

Oh God, a penalty. City don't tend to be great at these, as Aguero showed at Tottenham.

Up steps Riyad Mahrez. Remember the Anfield loss? Well, the next time Guardiola's men visited the red side of Stanley Park, the Algeria winger put one into orbit from 12 yards.

Not this time. Having fought long and hard to become one of his manager's go-to attackers, Mahrez emphatically clatters home.

Nerves are dissipating but have never been a problem for Foden. They never are, as he showed with the winner after Dortmund equalised in Manchester last week. He and Bellingham might have a very exciting future together in their national team.

The boyhood City fan draws back his left boot to send home the decisive blow and makes a beeline for Guardiola in the dugout, grabbing his boss' head. It feels like an exorcism.

After sharing a post-match chat with the man of the moment, Haaland now towers in Foden's rear-view mirror. PSG and Kylian Mbappe are up next. Foden arguably belongs in their conversation, as an individual good enough to dominate for a decade.

Of course, such dominance is easier forecast than achieved. Guardiola's quarter-final problem is no more. Now, how is his Champions League semi-finals record?

Pep Guardiola reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time as Manchester City manager after a second 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund.

City had exited Europe's premier club competition at the quarter-final stage in each of the prior three seasons and faced the same fate again on Wednesday when Jude Bellingham opened the scoring after 15 minutes at Signal Iduna Park.

That effort would have been enough to take Dortmund through on away goals after a 2-1 defeat in the first leg in Manchester, but Emre Can's second-half handball allowed Riyad Mahrez to level from the penalty spot.

Although BVB attempted to chase the game again, Phil Foden - the match winner eight days earlier - struck once more to maintain City's quadruple bid and tee up an intriguing last-four encounter with Paris Saint-Germain.

This was good preparation for that stern test, at least for 45 minutes, with Bellingham superb again and belatedly able to net his first Champions League goal, having had an effort ruled out in the first encounter. 

Mahmoud Dahoud's shot ricocheted to the feet of the England midfielder, who calmly controlled just inside the area and placed a fine finish high to Ederson's left, the goalkeeper's palm only helping the ball find the top corner.

Manuel Akanji headed too close to Ederson three minutes later, before City rallied and Kevin De Bruyne crashed a right-footed effort against the crossbar.

But Bellingham remained at the centre of the action and produced a stunning, stretching block when Mahrez appeared certain to score.

There was no stopping Mahrez 10 minutes into the second half. Can was penalised when the ball bounced off his head onto an outstretched arm, allowing the City winger to smash in the subsequent spot-kick following a lengthy VAR review.

As Dortmund attacked and Mats Hummels nodded over, De Bruyne sought to pick them off on the counter.

Although the City captain's dazzling run ended with a save from Marwin Hitz, the following corner went short to Foden, whose blast squeezed past the goalkeeper and in via the post to put the tie to bed.

Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund are preparing for home quarter-final legs knowing only victories will give them a chance of reaching the Champions League last four.

Jurgen Klopp's side were beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid in the Spanish capital last week, the scoreline matching that of the 2018 final, when Zinedine Zidane won the trophy for the third year running.

Of course, the Reds have history of famous Anfield comebacks, most notably two years ago when Barcelona were stunned on Merseyside after winning the semi-final first leg 3-0.

Dortmund are also in need of a spirited display. Marco Reus' away goal gave them a foothold in the tie against Manchester City, but a late winner from Phil Foden at the Etihad Stadium means the Premier League leaders have the advantage.

Still, if Dortmund repeat the result of the last time they hosted City in this competition, they will be going through...

 

Liverpool v Real Madrid (1-3 on aggregate): History on Zidane's side

Liverpool's unforgettable 4-0 win over Barcelona was one of two instances out of a possible 11 where they have progressed in a knockout tie after losing the first leg by two or more goals.

They beat Madrid by the same scoreline in March 2009 at Anfield, but Los Blancos' most recent visit to Merseyside ended in a 3-0 win in October 2014. They are now on a run of four consecutive wins over Liverpool.

Given Madrid have scored in each of their previous 23 Champions League knockout games, and the fact they have won 15 of the past 16 ties where they won the first leg by at least two goals, they would appear to be in a very strong position.

If Liverpool are to produce another turnaround, Mohamed Salah will almost certainly be key. His goal in the first leg means he has scored in each of his previous four appearances in the competition, and he could become only the second Liverpool player – after Steven Gerrard in 2007-08 – to do so in five.

Luka Modric is also chasing a small slice of history. The 2018 Ballon d'Or winner has provided an assist in three Champions League games in a row; since at least 2003-04, no Madrid player has ever managed to set up a goal in four consecutive games in this competition.

Borussia Dortmund v Manchester City (1-2 on aggregate): Haaland the main threat to Guardiola's record

Pep Guardiola lost three of his first five meetings with Borussia Dortmund but is unbeaten in his most recent seven, while City have only failed to progress twice in 15 European knockout ties after winning the first leg.

However, Guardiola endured the most recent of those eliminations, with Monaco upsetting City in his first season in charge in 2016-17. In fact, in Champions League history, the team to win the first leg 2-1 at home has been eliminated (15 times) more often than they have progressed (12).

It really could be a game of fine margins. If Dortmund repeat the scoreline from their only previous home game against City in December 2012 (1-0), that will be enough to send them through. However, City have kept clean sheets in four consecutive away games in the competition; another on Wednesday will guarantee their semi-final spot and see them become the first side to record shutouts in five games in a row since Manchester United a decade ago.

Inevitably, all eyes will be on Erling Haaland. The Norway star has only failed to score in three of his 15 Champions League appearances and has never drawn a blank at home for Dortmund, hitting seven in just four games.

Haaland has been tipped to replace Sergio Aguero at City next season, but this could be a chance for the Argentina striker to underline his legacy: a goal here will take him to 37 in the competition, the most of any player for a Premier League club. Aguero likes Bundesliga opposition, too: 11 of his 36 goals have come against sides from Germany, more than he has managed against teams from any other nation.

Cristiano Ronaldo's future beyond this season has been a hot topic of discussion.

The 36-year-old Portuguese forward appears set to exit Juventus after three seasons in Turin, despite being contracted for another year.

Ronaldo has been linked with former club Real Madrid and a switch to the United States, but there may be another option.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO IN UTD-JUVE SWAP DEAL

Manchester United want to sign Cristiano Ronaldo this off-season and would consider a swap deal with Juventus for Paul Pogba, according to Calciomercato.

Ronaldo played for United from 2003 to 2009 in the earlier part of his career, making almost 300 appearances for the Red Devils before his blockbuster move to Real Madrid.

Pogba, who spent time at Juventus from 2012 to 2016, has also been the subject of transfer speculation.

Juventus have this week been linked with a mega swap deal with United as they look for a transfer shake-up this off-season.

ROUND-UP

- The Independent reports Harry Kane's preference, if he was to leave Tottenham, is to remain in England and join either United or Manchester City.

- Juve forward Paulo Dybala has attracted interest from Premier League pair United and Chelsea, claims Tuttosport.

- United are also keen on an off-season move for Madrid defender Raphael Varane, according to The Mail. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United have also been linked with Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate, Sevilla star Jules Kounde and Villarreal defender Pau Torres.

- The Daily Mail reports Bayern Munich are bullish they can sign Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland as Robert Lewandowski's heir if he remains in Germany for one more season amid widespread interest this upcoming off-season. Haaland has been heavily linked with City, United, Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

- Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira is wanted by Argentine giants Boca Juniors, reports TyC Sports. Torreira is currently on loan at Atletico Madrid.

Erling Haaland has not been impacted by the transfer rumours amid Borussia Dortmund's Champions League quarter-final with Manchester City, according to Edin Terzic, who also ruled Jadon Sancho out of Wednesday's second leg.

Dortmund host City having lost 2-1 in Manchester last week and the omens are not bad for BVB, as in the Champions League the team that won the first leg 2-1 at home has been eliminated more often (15) than they have progressed (12).

Terzic's side will also be confident that Haaland will not have such a quiet evening in front of goal again, as he only managed one shot in Manchester – it was a wonderful opportunity as well with an xG value of 0.4, meaning the average player would be expected to take it 40 per cent of the time.

By Haaland's standards – he has nine open-play Champions League goals from an xG value of just 5.7 in 2020-21 – it was a brilliant chance to hammer home why he has received so much praise and attention this season, although he did manage the assist for Marco Reus' goal at the Etihad Stadium.

Some of that attention has developed into incessant transfer speculation, with his agent Mino Raiola spending part of the recent international break talking to potential suitors.

City, whom his dad Alf-Inge played for, have been suggested as being among those keen and Terzic is convinced all the chatter has not impacted him, despite Haaland being without a goal for club or country since March 20.

"I didn't notice anything and it wasn't even an issue for us," Terzic said of the rumours during the international break.

"He was very happy to come back from the national team. He was happy to see all the faces and they were happy to see him.

"He did very well last time [against City]. He is known for making good runs from deep, but he also gave us a few seconds of possession. He often secured the ball well; he is a very important part of our team."

Terzic – who is only in charge until the end of the season when Marco Rose will take over – was not about to get drawn into the debate around Haaland's future by putting a valuation on him, however.

"As a coach, I have to get the best out of him, that's my job. It's not my job to put a price tag on him," he said. "I have to get the best out of the team and want to advance to the next round."

Just as he missed the first leg, Sancho will also be unavailable against his former team on Wednesday – and he could yet be joined by others in missing out.

"We have a few ailing players where we have to wait and see," Terzic added. "Mats Hummels and Marco Reus had to be replaced last time. It won't be enough [time] for Jadon, otherwise we'll have to see."

Pep Guardiola insists he trusts Manchester City to take the next step in the Champions League, adamant he would be "crazy" not to have that belief ahead of Wednesday's quarter-final second leg.

City go to Borussia Dortmund with a 2-1 lead from last week's home leg, meaning the Germans will be quietly confident of pulling off an upset given they managed an away goal.

While City have progressed from 13 of their 15 knockout ties in European competition when winning the first leg, in the Champions League the side that won the first leg 2-1 at home has been eliminated more often (15) than they have progressed (12).

The tie is in the balance and Guardiola knows too well to take anything for granted given City have been eliminated at this stage of the competition in each of the previous three seasons.

In 2019-20 they were dumped out at the hands of Lyon, a defeat that led to serious questions being asked of Guardiola and his management of such games, with some suggesting he overcomplicates life for himself.

Ahead of the second leg, the focus was more on the players rather than the Catalan's preparations, and Guardiola was unequivocal when asked about trusting the team.

"After 27 victories in 29 games, if I don't trust the players we have a big problem – I would be crazy," he said in his pre-game news conference on Tuesday.

"Tomorrow we can win or lose. What we have done so far, we deserve to be where we are now. We know if we win we go through or lose we are out. In the Premier League we need three wins and a draw to be champions because we expect United to win seven in a row.

"If we go out, we will be disappointed but we have another chance. Life is like this. If you fight you get another opportunity. We are going to try.

"We lose against Lyon, we were better, but we were out. We are fighting for four competitions, especially the Premier League. We are already qualified for the Champions League, 11 years in a row, which has never happened before [for City]. That is fantastic.

"Now is the time for another step, the players want it. They were sad when we didn't get to the semi-finals [in 2019-20] but nobody will give it to us, we have to do it.

"Nobody gives you the semi-finals, we have to do it in 90 minutes if we don't do mistakes like against Lyon when we give them three goals. I'm so excited to travel to Germany, to try to do it."

City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan struck a similar chord when he addressed the media prior to Guardiola, as the former Dortmund star suggested they gifted Lyon the 3-1 win in August.

"For me it's important to take the next step, not just the experiences we had in the last few years, but also I have expectations of myself and team-mates and I know we have a great team and are capable of going into the semi-finals," he said. "We should have been there earlier in the last few seasons but we were lacking something, individual mistakes which led to goals - and it's tough.

"I feel we are much more stable at the moment this season, especially defensively, the more you proceed in this competition the more important it gets. It gives you a safe feeling when you know your defence and goalkeeper are working very well. Combined with the feeling we know we're always able to score it's a great potential."

While he accepts there has been progress, Gundogan feels they have to show that improvement extends to their character, having appeared emotionally fragile at times over the past few years.

"I feel sometimes this is the case, we need to learn it's normal to struggle," he continued. "On that stage, playing against the best teams in Europe, it's normal, everyone has quality.

"It's normal to concede a goal, we're not used to running behind a goal. Conceding or struggling, we're used to dominating games and having possession, but it's normal in Champions League and Premier League there are games it might not be that easy. Mistakes are normal.

"Learning to deal with it is the only thing that was missing when we speak of those Tottenham games [in 2018-19]. Just dealing with those situations is something we might need to learn still, these stages will show it now. It's something we need to accept."

Where will Kylian Mbappe be playing next season is a question being asked across Europe.

The Paris Saint-Germain star has been tipped to join Real Madrid.

Should Mbappe depart Paris, PSG are reportedly drawing up a list of replacements.

 

TOP STORY – KANE AND SALAH WANTED IN PARIS

Paris Saint-Germain have set their sights on Tottenham forward Harry Kane and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah as possible replacements for Kylian Mbappe, according to Telefoot.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, though PSG remain in negotiations over a contract extension.

While PSG are still hopeful, the Ligue 1 holders are eyeing the Premier League should Mbappe leave the French capital.

Kane is reportedly wanted by Manchester United and Manchester City, while Salah has previously been linked with Madrid and Barcelona.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato reports Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid are chasing Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella. The Sun adds Chelsea are also interested in the Italy star.

Juventus and PSG could exchange Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala in a swap deal, says Corriere dello Sport. Icardi's future is up in the air, despite only joining PSG permanently from Inter last year, while countryman Dybala is reportedly nearing an exit.

- AS Diario claims United are keeping tabs on Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, who has also been linked with neighbours City. United have also been credited with interest in Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, RB Leipzig's Liverpool target Ibrahima Konate as well as Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane.

- Eintracht Frankfurt boss Adi Hutter is set to replace outgoing boss Marco Rose at Borussia Monchengladbach, reports Kicker. Rose is poised to take charge of Borussia Dortmund.

Jadon Sancho has returned to training with a ball at his feet as he continues his comeback from a muscle injury, a timely boost for Borussia Dortmund as they prepare to face Manchester City.

Sancho has not featured since March 2 due to a thigh issue, but BVB posted social media footage of him carrying out an individual on-pitch session on Sunday.

The England international's recovery comes ahead of Dortmund hosting City in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.

Sancho was unable to feature against his former club in the initial meeting, a game the Premier League club won 2-1 thanks to a late goal from Phil Foden at the Etihad Stadium.

Prior to the first leg, Dortmund coach Edin Terzic had said of Sancho: "He started with a bit of running for the last couple of days and we hope that it won't take a long time to get back to team training, but he won't be ready for the next week, let's say.

"For the future it's hard to tell. First of all, we still have seven games left in the Bundesliga to qualify for the Champions League."

Dortmund have been beaten in their previous two home games against English sides in the Champions League - against Tottenham in both 2017-18 and 2018-19 - having lost just one of their first seven such fixtures.

Their only home meeting with City ended in a 1-0 victory for the German side, and a repeat of that result in midweek would be enough to earn a place in the semi-finals.

Even if the clash with City comes too soon for Sancho, the 21-year-old looks set to feature in a critical run-in.

Dortmund sit fifth in the Bundesliga table, seven points behind fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt with eight games to play.

There also remains the possibility of silverware in the DFB-Pokal, with BVB facing Holstein Kiel – the second-tier side who knocked Bayern Munich out of the competition – in the last four.

Sancho has managed 12 goals and provided 13 assists in all competitions in the 2020-21 season so far, having scored 20 and set up 19 in the previous campaign.

What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo?

Mbappe has been heavily linked with Real Madrid, while Ronaldo's future at Juventus is far from certain.

A possible switch to the Spanish capital could reportedly impact Ronaldo.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE OUT, RONALDO IN AT PSG?

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo could join Paris Saint-Germain if Kylian Mbappe leaves for Real Madrid, according to Tuttosport.

Mbappe has long been tipped to swap Ligue 1 holders PSG for LaLiga champions Madrid, who have been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Inter forward Romelu Lukaku.

If Mbappe makes the move to the Santiago Bernabeu, it could send Ronald to Paris as Juve look to reduce their wage bill in Turin.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic reports Harry Kane will ask to leave Tottenham if they do not qualify for next season's Champions League. The Spurs star has been linked with Manchester United, Manchester City and Madrid.

Barcelona are eyeing Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez, claims Mundo Deportivo. The LaLiga giants are not rumoured to be interested in Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng, who is set to depart Bavaria at season's end.

- The Mirror says Liverpool are interested in signing Barca star Pedri, who reportedly has a release clause around £70million (€81m).

United have been warned West Ham will not accept an offer to include Jesse Lingard as part of a deal to prise Declan Rice to Old Trafford, claims The Sun. United are also keen to bring back Sam Johnstone from West Brom if David de Gea or Dean Henderson leave.

- Bild says Liverpool are entering the final stages of a deal for RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. Premier League rivals United have also been linked.

Pep Guardiola insisted he had no regrets over ringing the changes as Manchester City went down to a shock 2-1 defeat at home against Leeds United.

Stuart Dallas broke away to score his second of the game in stoppage time to give Marcelo Bielsa's men a hard-fought triumph over the Premier League leaders, despite losing captain Liam Cooper to a red card shortly before half-time.

Ferran Torres cancelled out Dallas' first-half opener with 14 minutes to play but it was a frustrating outing in front of goal for Guardiola's men overall as they racked up 29 largely fruitless attempts and Leeds scored from their only two shots.

City will defend a slender 2-1 advantage in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Borussia Dortmund and Guardiola named an XI showing seven changes from the initial encounter with the Bundesliga side.

Spain forward Torres was making only his third Premier League start since the beginning of February, while centre-back Nathan Ake played for the first time in 2021 following a serious hamstring injury.

"When you win I'm a genius, when you lose you have to take it," Guardiola said at a post-match news conference.

"I don't have regrets about the 11 selected because I trust them a lot. Maybe they don't trust me, but I trust them. If I didn't trust them they would not play.

"John [Stones] was fantastic, Nathan, Benja [Benjamin Mendy], all of them. Everyone was good.

"Playing against Leeds is difficult because they are used to winning duels and when you beat that duel they come back more aggressive than before to dribble again."

Guardiola blamed the defeat on City failing to stem counter-attacks when Leeds emerged from their defensive shell during the closing minutes, with Ederson making a vital sliding challenge to deny Raphinha before Dallas latched on to Ezgjan Alioski's throughball with aplomb.

"It is a game of transitions. We had to avoid it, they did it. We defended well at their goal kicks, short and long. And after, 10 against 11, we needed inspiration of the players and especially don't let them run," Guardiola said, having withdrawn Ake in favour of playmaker Ilkay Gundogan before the hour mark – a move that appeared to leave City more vulnerable on the break.

"We did it during 37 minutes [in the second half] but before the goal we conceded Raphinha had a chance and Edi saved. The second one at the end we could not control it and we had to.

"In the last five years, always we work and talk about that. When you attack and attack and attack, always we have to control and don't let them run. If you don't, then it's impossible to play in this way."

If that is a lesson Guardiola is preparing to repeat once again before his squad heads to Signal Iduna Park, he will also be keen to draw attention to their recent achievements with pivotal fixtures on the horizon.

City take on Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley next weekend before returning to England's national stadium on April 25 to face Tottenham and attempt to win a fourth consecutive EFL Cup.

"What happens when you lose a game is you realise how difficult it is, what we've done so far," he added, with a maximum of 10 points required from their final six Premier League games for City to secure the title.

"When you see in the last 28 games we have won 26, you realise how difficult it is what we have done.

"The Premier League must be won. We need points still because now our opponent can win all the games. We need to do it again.

"We have Aston Villa in the middle, but three of the next four games are finals - in the Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

"If you tell me about faith, wow, we have incredible confidence in the guys. Sometimes defeat is necessary to understand what we have done and what we need to do to move forward."

Leeds United's shock win over Manchester City on Saturday was Marcelo Bielsa's first over Pep Guardiola, and it was achieved through a remarkable statistical anomaly.

Bielsa's side prevailed 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium through Stuart Dallas' double, sandwiched by Ferran Torres' close-range strike, despite spending most of the game on the back foot, with captain Liam Cooper sent off before half-time.

City racked up 29 shots to Leeds' two, but it was the visitors who proved the more clinical as they scored from unlikely positions on both occasions.

Indeed, Leeds' expected goals (xG) total for the game was 0.1 compared to 2.0 for City.

Dallas' 91st-minute winner saw Leeds become the first team since Opta began tracking xG for the Premier League in 2010-11 to win a game by scoring twice with an xG of 0.1.

Tottenham scored twice with an xG of 0.1 against City in August 2019, but that contest ended in a draw.

With City hitting the target just seven times and their 29 attempts bringing a meagre xG return, Guardiola accepted the runaway league leaders did not create enough quality chances.

"It was not clear the chances, we shoot but not much clear. We arrive in the final third but after that we could not create much," he told BT Sport.

And the City boss shrugged off the smash-and-grab nature of Leeds' win, pointing to similar circumstances in Paris Saint-Germain's 3-2 win over Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

PSG triumphed by scoring three times from six shots with an xG of 1.3, while Bayern had 31 shots and an xG of 3.8.

"The last game in Champions League, Bayern Munich had [31] and PSG [six] and PSG won the game," added Guardiola, whose side will look to avoid a repeat performance in four days' time when they face Borussia Dortmund.

City lead 2-1 from their home first leg as they hope to progress to the last four of Europe's elite club competition.

City hold a 2-1 lead from the first leg but could be met with a similar rearguard action if Dortmund take the lead needing only a 1-0 win to go through.

Manchester City suffered a shock defeat as their seemingly inevitable march to the Premier League title hit a bump in the road with a last-gasp 2-1 loss to 10-man Leeds United.

Pep Guardiola shuffled his pack with this fixture sandwiched between both legs of their Champions League quarter-final with Borussia Dortmund, and his much-changed side fell behind to Stuart Dallas' opener late in the first half.

A red card for Leeds captain Liam Cooper seemingly tilted the game in City's favour and they eventually broke down their undermanned opponents when Ferran Torres equalised 14 minutes from time.

But Marcelo Bielsa's men caught City on the counter as they pressed for the winner, Dallas latching on to Ezgjan Alioski's throughball and sliding his second through Ederson's legs to clinch a remarkable victory for Leeds.

Manchester City will take an aggregate lead into the second leg of a Champions League quarter-final for the first time when they travel to Borussia Dortmund, but there was another break with tradition in Manchester this week.

An hour and 15 minutes before events got underway at the Etihad Stadium, Pep Guardiola picked a starting XI that did not lead to raised eyebrows and mass consternation.

No midfield diamond, like the one that quickly lost its shine in a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in 2018; no overt caution as in the 1-0 loss at Tottenham that preceded a crazy second leg and an exit on away goals; no unwieldy 5-3-2 within which City froze so badly against Lyon last year.

Much of the runaway Premier League leaders' success this season has been based upon Guardiola harnessing the full depths of a talent-rich squad, mastering the art of pandemic football through shrewd rotation. So, given his line-ups have become increasingly tricky to predict, the prospects of a pre-match bolt from the blue were reduced.

However, if he has a best XI, the side that eventually prevailed 2-1 against Dortmund were something close to it. A midfield trio anchored by Rodri, ablaze with Kevin De Bruyne's creativity and gilded by Ilkay Gundogan's supreme movement and timely goals. Up front there was, well… no one in particular as Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden hovered around false nine Bernardo Silva.

And at the back, in front of an unusually erratic Ederson, were City's four best defenders this season. There was Joao Cancelo, the wildcard full-back/midfield hybrid who has given Guardiola's side a new dimension and added control. On the other flank, Kyle Walker – a right-back in the most conventional sense and one of Guardiola's most reliable performers of the past four campaigns.

At centre-back, the reborn John Stones was alongside Ruben Dias. An error on his England return last month stood out so much because Stones has been immense in sky blue this term. City have only conceded seven times with him on the field this season.

Then there is Dias, who joined as a club-record signing from Benfica in the aftermath of a 5-2 defeat to Leicester City. Such humiliation has never looked like being repeated with the Portugal international in harness.

"He’s been so important so far but still we have two months before the end of the season," Guardiola said ahead of Saturday's match with Leeds United, against whom Dias made his debut six months ago.

"He has been so important in the leadership and quality he has."

Despite their impressive individual performances, the Dortmund game was only the fifth time the Walker-Stones-Dias-Cancelo quartet has lined up together.

Given City have two Wembley dates this month and possibly more showpiece encounters to come as they pursue honours on four fronts, their potential status as a go-to defensive line is interesting, mainly because it is a setup in which the influential Dias seems a little uncomfortable.

The reason for this is rooted in the fact that, since City embarked upon their remarkable ongoing run of 27 wins in 28 matches, Guardiola's back four has not really been a back four.

In possession, which is most of the time when you're Manchester City, Cancelo's role is generally to bolster the midfield numbers. When Guardiola highlighted some of City's struggles in central areas against Dortmund, it was Rodri and Cancelo – tellingly not one of the Spain international's teamsheet midfield colleagues – who he namechecked.

That leaves three strung across the backline to start the build-up, a fundamental basis for any strong Guardiola performance. When Cancelo has started nominally from right-back, that three is usually Stones-Dias-Oleksandr Zinchenko. Walker's starts at right-back have often come with the left-footed central defender Aymeric Laporte in the line-up, meaning the back three in possession is Walker-Dias-Laporte.

Dias thrives in this position at the heart of things, with ball players on their natural sides flanking him. The problem when Walker and Cancelo start is Dias ends up on the left of the three, with Stones central.

"You are completely right, good point," Guardiola conceded when it was raised Dias was put slightly out of his comfort zone in midweek.

"We don't have left footer to pass the ball to the wider winger quicker with a natural left foot. That's true.

"But in that game we needed specifically Ruben in that position, with John, and that's why you use it. We won for other aspects in other positions and other situations."

So, Guardiola felt the trade-off was worth it due to benefits elsewhere. Considering how City came on strong down the stretch before Foden's dramatic winner, it is hard to argue too much.

A closer inspection of the games Walker, Stones, Dias and Cancelo have started shows Marco Reus' equaliser for Dortmund was the first goal City have conceded in this configuration. Previously, they drew 0-0 at Manchester United, beat Southampton 1-0 and Aston Villa and Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0, although Walker went off injured before half-time versus Villa and was replaced by Zinchenko.

But what of Dias? When starting with Stones, Walker and Cancelo, he averages 12 fewer passes per 90 minutes (78 down from 90) at a lower accuracy (91.1 from 93.8) than his overall season statistics, suggesting he is not so sure in possession on his unfavoured side of the field.

His duel success rate drops from 62.7 per cent to 50, with aerials falling from 66.1 to 54.5 per cent. His tackles per 90 minutes track upwards slightly from 0.9 to 1.3, although this could indicate the build-up flaws of this back three/four means more last-ditch defensive work.

Another game where Dias was on the left of the three in possession came in February against West Ham, where Walker started and Zinchenko performed the Cancelo role from the left.

Although Dias and Stones were the goalscoring heroes in a 2-1 win, City were ragged and Opta's expected goals (xG) figures for the game saw David Moyes' men 1.9-0.5 to the good at full-time, indicating Guardiola's normally smooth outfit rode their luck.

These are minor drop-offs and it is not as if City have looked useless in the games mentioned above. However, as Guardiola often likes to say, the biggest games can come down to the "small details".

Having the man who turned his defence around performing an uncomfortable task on one of those occasions is a risk he should perhaps avoid.

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