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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Pep Guardiola says fighting spirit will stand Manchester City in good stead for rest of Champions League campaign

City battle back from a goal down to beat Hoffenheim, with Guardiola hailing match-winner Silva as 'one of the best players I ever trained in my life

Pep Guardiola believes the fighting spirit shown by his Manchester City players in their last-gasp win over Hoffenheim will bring his side future Uefa Champions League success.

David Silva's late goal secured a vital three points for City to get their Group F campaign back on track after the shock 2-1 defeat at home to Lyon two weeks ago.

Silva poached the ball away from Stefan Posch before finishing with aplomb with just three minutes left on the clock as City earned a deserved win.

City got off to the worst possible start, falling behind after just 44 seconds through Ishak Belfodil, but Sergio Aguero quickly equalised after Silva released Leroy Sane with a defence-splitting pass and the Spanish playmaker sealed the comeback victory late on to cap a superb individual display.

Guardiola was delighted with his team's fighting spirit and patience against Hoffenheim's dogged defending.

"Losing at home [to Lyon] made things tough and conceding so early [at Hoffenheim] was hard, but we fought against everything today," the City manager said.

"We have to live this kind of situation, the previous two seasons weren't easy to qualify, but we still went through with one or two games left.

"I think it will come down to our final game this time.

"This competition isn't always a red carpet. Manchester City is a fantastic club, but we don't have a history of having to fight and we fought for absolutely everything here."

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Having steered City to the quarter-finals last season, Guardiola said what his team learnt in Hoffenheim will help in the long term.

"I am pretty sure what we have learnt here will be good for us in the future," he said.

"This isn't like the Premier League or the Bundesliga, all the teams here are so good and they are so hard to beat.

"We are a step below the history in Europe of Liverpool or the Spanish teams or Bayern Munich or Inter Milan.

"We have to do this step by step. This is one of the happiest days I have had at this club as it will help us going forward."

Guardiola heaped praise on watch-winner Silva.

"He is one of the best players I ever trained in my life," Guardiola said. "I had a lot of special players at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but he is on the list.

"He is the sort of player who steps up in the difficult moments and he deserves all of my respect."

The teams meet again in Manchester in the final round of matches in December.