Pep Guardiola sends Man City fresh Champions League warning ahead of Real Madrid return

Guardiola has insisted there will be no repeat of last season’s 4-0 win as he warned City against complacency

Richard Jolly
Senior Football Correspondent
Wednesday 17 April 2024 07:43 BST
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Pep Guardiola has urged Manchester City to retain the hunger required to win the Champions League rather than being complacent because they lifted the trophy last season.

City face Real Madrid in the second leg of their quarter-final on Wednesday after securing a 3-3 draw in the Bernabeu last week, with manager Guardiola saying they should not feel under less pressure because they ended their long wait to become champions of Europe.

He said: “We need to feel the pressure that you don’t want to lose the game. If you think we have done it already, we will not have this piece of hunger to compete against these teams. It’s true that the fact we won it has made us feel better and more comfortable but we need the right energy. Our people at home will help us a lot.”

Guardiola insisted City cannot expect a repeat of last year’s 4-0 win over Real at the Etihad Stadium, adding: “We know it will not be like last season. They learn, we learn. But at the same time, we will try to do what we have to do and it is the most difficult week.

“It is the most difficult week but it’s nice to be here again. We have the chance to be in the semi-final of the Champions League for four years in a row. This is exceptional for a club like Manchester City.”

Guardiola said he is enjoying the frenetic nature of a week when City are fighting on three fronts. They have an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday and he added: “I’m used to it.

“It’s better to be here than not here. I would not complain one second about that. It is what it is. Work more days to prepare but it is what it is. Twenty-four hours a day is a lot so you can find a way, you have a lot of people to help you because what is important is to take the right decisions.”

City went to the top of the Premier League on Saturday before defeats for Arsenal and Liverpool cemented their status as favourites but Guardiola tried to deflect talk of the treble.

He explained: “When I was a few points behind I said we had to do our job. It is the same feeling now. It’s like when we drew against Arsenal and the computer said we had no chance and now we have a chance - I don’t know if the computer can play left-back or right-back - but we just have to go one game at a time.

(Action Images via Reuters)

“I started to think of the treble last season when we beat [Manchester] United in the FA Cup final. The success for me this season is that we are still there after winning the treble and are four or five weeks away and still in contention. Chapeau.”

Guardiola will make a late decision whether to start captain Kyle Walker against Real. The right-back has missed City’s last four games with an injury sustained in England’s defeat to Brazil, though he was fit enough to be an unused substitute in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Luton.

“I’m going to see the training,” he said. “He trained good, he feels something but he feels good with his mood and face. I don’t know from the beginning or from the bench but he will be with us tomorrow.” Nathan Ake, who also missed the first leg, is back in contention as well.

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