Guardiola must pick up Man City players fast after Real Madrid disappointment and secure Premier League title

Pep Guardiola Manchester City Getty Images

Forget the nine months and 53 matches that went before. What impact will those 86 seconds in Madrid have on Manchester City's season?

As Santiago Bernabeu erupted, and the Real Madrid players celebrated along with their fans, Pep Guardiola was already forced to think ahead.

Striding around the pitch, he ignored the wild scenes - and the whistles and jeers aimed at him - to focus on picking up his players.

Fernandinho, in his last Champions League match after nine years at City, was crestfallen. He becomes the latest in a long line of club legends to move on without a prized European medal.

There were a warm hugs too for Joao Cancelo, Aymeric Laporte and Phil Foden - three stars who had given everything but somehow ended up on the losing side.

He had already had a calming word for Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian was in danger of losing all control in a confrontation with the Real Madrid bench and the fourth official as the extra-time clock ticked down.

"They are sad, they were close to reaching the final of the Champions League," Guardiola reflected. "Football is unpredictable, it is a game like this. We have to accept it.

"Now we need to process that and come back, with our people at home and the last four games we have."

Vinicius Real Madrid GFX
Getty Images

City were understandably shellshocked - no doubt Guardiola as well. But the City manager somehow kept his cool amid the explosion of a crazy night.

As the full-time whistle went in Madrid, and Pep's players sank to the floor, the clock started for their Premier League clash with Newcastle United on Sunday.

As desperate and demoralising as Wednesday night's defeat was, City have little time to feel sorry for themselves.

Liverpool secured their place in the Champions League final the night before and the imposing red juggernaut will roll on until the end of the season with an immense amount of momentum.

With a slender one-point advantage, Guardiola cannot afford the slightest slip-up, and his work in turning around a cruel defeat began as soon as Daniele Orsoto put the whistle to his lips.

How City allowed a 90th-minute, two-goal advantage to disappear will be analysed on another day; whether it was the magic of Real's relationship with the Champions League, a jinx on Guardiola that means he will never win the trophy again or something as simple as poor defending.

The immediate focus will be on ensuring the season does not implode and that City keep arch-rivals Liverpool at a one-point distance between now and the end of the season.

Guardiola has been here before.

A similar, devastating defeat to Tottenham in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2019 came during the same kind of head-to-head showdown with Liverpool that ran right until the final game of the season.

Three days after that loss, they faced a rematch against Spurs in the Premier League and managed to carve out a 1-0 victory thanks to a Phil Foden header and a courageous display that was as much about belief as quality.

Foden will bounce back and be ready to go again on Sunday against Newcastle; Guardiola will be hoping that others can join him.

But as well as broken hearts, the players will need to recover quickly from a draining 120 minutes and some may not make it back in time.

Kyle Walker was rushed back quickly from an ankle injury to curb the threat of Vinicius Junior and it worked well until the 70th minute when the pair came together innocently with the England defender hobbling out of the action.

At the same time, Kevin De Bruyne was taken off after a disappointing night and Laporte looked uncomfortable in the final few minutes.

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John Stones is already missing after his appearance in the first leg backfired and is not expected to be back for the weekend.

The impact of crushing Champions League defeats may well impact future European challenges for City.

But for now, they have to ensure it does not damage their hopes of a fourth Premier League title in five years.