Man City boss Guardiola hails ‘incredible’ pilot as he details ‘scary’ aeroplane flight

The Citizens' trip back home from a Champions League rout was not without peril amid awful weather, and their manager has now spoken on the experienceThe Citizens' trip back home from a Champions League rout was not without peril amid awful weather, and their manager has now spoken on the experience
The Citizens’ trip back home from a Champions League rout was not without peril amid awful weather, and their manager has now spoken on the experience

Pep Guardiola has hailed the “incredible” pilot who helped steer Manchester City’s flight back to safety amid Storm Dudley on Thursday, after they were forced to divert to Liverpool amid appalling weather conditions.

The Citizens were returning from their Champions League last-16 trip to Sporting CP, where Bernardo Silva helped inspire them to a rampant 5-0 rout to seize a likely insurmountable first-leg advantage.

Yet their trip was not without peril as they were caught in the throes of the one-two punch of Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice that has battered most of north-western Europe over the past few days – and now Guardiola has opened up on the “scary” experience after seeing footage of the side’s plane attempt to land at Manchester Airport.

What has been said?

“Well, to be honest when I saw after the video I said ‘wow’,” the Spaniard told his pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s clash with Tottenham this weekend. “It was more scary and we felt that.

“It was bumping a lot, many times, but there was a moment going down and immediately the engines started to roll on and you go up. Somehing happened but the pilot was incredible, he talked to us and was so calm. The pilot was magnificent. We felt a little bit anxious in there air but thanks to the way he talked to us, everyone was calm.”

Asked about how many times his side attempted to arrive in their home city, Guardiola stated they tried just one descent before opting for Liverpool, with the manager cheekily stating he got a warm welcome in the city of his main title rivals, adding: “For sure, they are always so kind to us. They have a better airport than us!”

Manager expects Grealish absence

Pressed on his plans for the visit of a Spurs side in freefall, Guardiola acknowledged that Storm Eunice has played havoc with his training plans, but that the injured Jack Grealish is unlikely to return following his shin problem.

“We are going to train now in two hours,” he added. “Hopefully, with the wind we cannot miss players flying to the sky. We’ll see

“I think [Grealish’s] shin is much less [of an issue] than he had last season in Birmingham but still I didn’t speak with the doctor. Right after, we will see but I think he will not make it tomorrow but hopefully in the next weeks.”

The bigger picture

Safely back on British soil amid horrendous conditions, City will turn their attention towards what they hope will be routine results amid their increasingly dominant form.

They remain on for a European treble this term, outright favourites for the Premier League and heavily fancied for both the FA Cup and Champions League.

Their statement performance over Sporting suggests that they can go one better than last year when they choked at the last hurdle against Chelsea, with a continental prize still the only trophy to elude Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium.