Man City given Barcelona warning by Ronald Koeman as Messi, Suarez and Neymar score 'three from four chances'

Koeman believes City can't afford to give Barcelona chances to score when they meet in the Champions League on Wednesday

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The Independent Football

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has said that Manchester City could concede three goals if they offer Barcelona four chances in the Champions League on Wednesday, such is the size of the threat Pep Guardiola’s side face in the Nou Camp.

Koeman was high in his praise for City after the 1-1 draw on Saturday, declaring them to be the best side he has faced in his managerial career. But the Dutchman – who, like Guardiola, is a former Barcelona holding midfielder - said that the collective threat of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez meant that conceding three was a possibility on Wednesday in the Champions League.

“I think [City] are strong enough as a team to get a good result in Barcelona but you play against Messi, Neymar and Suarez, they will score out of one chance,” Koeman said. “If they get four chances they will score three times I think. The quality of Barcelona is extremely high.”

Guardiola said on Saturday night that three games without a win could affect the confidence of his side and Koeman suggested that Sergio Aguero’s four missed penalties this season could be a negative psychological factor. “It is [maybe] a mental question for Aguero,” he said. “I don’t know, because it’s not the first he has missed.”

Defence is the area of Guardiola’s side which looks most vulnerable. A generally uncreative Everton, who frequently conceded possession, required only one chance to take the lead on Saturday, after a move in which both John Stones and Gael Clichy were at fault. Stones, maintaining a very high defensive line on the half way line, misjudged a ball which Yannick Bolasie flicked on for Romelu Lukaku. His pace and power made Gael Clichy look ordinary.

But the overall picture of City was one of a side imbued with huge creative powers by Guardiola, with individual players transformed in only three months. They created 19 shots on target but were denied by an Everton performance which illustrated the competitive challenge the Catalonian now faces.


Kevin de Bruyne, outstanding again and playing on another level under Guardiola, said he discovered only half an hour before Saturday’s game that he would be playing – which illustrated how the Spanish manager keeps the players on their toes.

“No [I didn’t know I was playing], because the coach is always changing and we never know for another half hour before the match,” he said. “That's his way of putting everyone on their toes. Starting or not, it was important that I was fit. "

De Bruyne put his own penalty miss down to indecision about where to place the ball before man of the match Martin Stekelenburg made the first of his two spot kick saves. "I've changed my mind and that's always bad. It is the first time it happens. I was left stairs and I kick right. That is my mistake. The moment you have to shoot you suddenly think that something else is better ... Well, it was not good to choose that [right hand] side [of the goal]. "