Manchester City take on Liverpool tomorrow and must pull off something quite remarkable to remain in the Champions League after losing their quarter-final first leg tie 3-0 at Anfield.
Pep Guardiola and his men are capable of extraordinary feats and already beat Liverpool 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium this season, so while unlikely, overturning the deficit isn’t impossible.
The Man City manager addressed the media along with Fernandinho this afternoon at the City Football Academy ahead of tomorrow’s crunch clash.
Guardiola believes City have to be almost perfect to have any chance of qualifying on Tuesday night.
“We have to make almost the perfect game to go through. In sport, anything can happen,” said Pep.
“But we have 90 mins and in any sport anything can happen. We don’t have to think about how many we have to score, we just think about scoring the first one.”
The boss was quizzed about the potential of revenge attacks on the Liverpool bus after scores of hooligans attacked City’s coach as it approached Anfield. Pep believes City fans are above such acts and that unlike the Merseyside Police, the GMP will have it under control.
“Since I am here it has never happened, the fans arrive in the right way. We knew it would be tough when we arrived in Liverpool and unfortunately it happened.
“The police know their job.”
City must be clinical against Liverpool to have any chance, Pep believes.
“The perfect scenario is to go through. Every time we play Liverpool we know each other. If we concede a goal, don’t give up. We did many times, we can in a short space of time create chances and be clinical. But even if we are not clinical we have to move on.
“Liverpool is really well defensively organised. it is not easy to create chances but we will try.”
The Catalan once again backed the ability of his players despite their recent bump.
“My team is extraordinary. It is exceptional and I will be close to them no matter what happens between now and the end of the season.”
Champions League success remains a dream for City, the only trophy yet to be achieved in the Sheikh Mansour era. And Pep is conscious of the need to win trophies in Europe.
“We need titles in Europe, which is complicated. Maybe not tomorrow but what this club has done in the last 10 years, the facilities, the desire to make it happen, it will happen. If not this season, maybe next, but sooner or later it will happen.”
Nicolas Otamendi hasn’t been at his best of late, but Guardiola against bigged up his Argentine defender, focusing on the season he’s had rather than the last couple of performances.
“Otamendi isn’t just huge quality, he has huge mentality. The third goal (against United) he has to defend his back. But we are here in quarter-final and 13 points clear and Otamendi is one of the reasons why.”
John Stones has been rarely seen lately and in honesty hasn’t looked the same since his injury. Guardiola still rates the young Englishman.
“John, with Nico, was among the best central defenders. After he got injured, 6-8 weeks off, and after he came back he had a little problem with confidence. The reason he’s out in last games is because Kompany and Otamendi have been so good. The last game he had a concussion.”
Finally, how is Sergio Aguero after Ashley Young’s unpunished horror tackle against him? Pep responded (sarcastically)…
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