Pep Guardiola warned his players that they would be battling a hostile Elland Road crowd as well as a feisty Leeds United team ahead of their vital Premier League crunch. The Blues ended up racking up a 4-0 win but the match was much closer than that would suggest – and was played out against a volatile backdrop, with paper missiles raining down on City players on the far side from the manager’s dugout.

City’s last visit to the Yorkshire outfit came last season during lockdown, a 1-1 draw played out in an empty stadium, but with Leeds fighting for Premier League survival, this was very different. The home crowd got behind their team, and on the backs of the City players, and the officials, throughout.

Guardiola afterwards revealed he had spoken to his players about what they were walking into: “I’m not going to compare otherwise I will be in trouble. Since I arrived I heard many times about what Elland Road means. The previous time we came here Marcelo Bielsa was manager and it was behind closed doors so I couldn’t feel it.

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“Today I felt it so I know why this is so special. At the end 4-0 down, fighting to stay in the Premier League and singing, chanting, showing support. I can imagine how the people … Leeds is one of the greatest teams in this country and I have a special sympathy for the fact Marcelo was here and hopefully they can stay.]

“But that is why we spoke that it will be tough today. At the right moments we are not a team to score a lot of goals in set-pieces but two goals from set-pieces can sometimes unblock these kinds of games.

“Now it is important because we have a final game in Madrid and reaching the final we can just focus on the Premier League for four games. This game was between (two semi-final legs) and we tried in the locker room but one comment about Madrid is normal. Everyone is there.

“Winning these type of games at the end of the season…it is different when you play against a team in the middle of the table. We stick together and we reduced the goal difference – I don’t know if it is important – but it is in our hands.

“Newcastle, Wolves, West Ham and Aston Villa. We know exactly what we have to do and we have the same opinion. We win, we will be champions. We drop, they will be champions.”

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