Champions League

City's defensive frailties to be tested against Shakhtar

2019-09-18 09:37
Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Pep Guardiola is backing Fernandinho to step up to the plate as Manchester City's injury problems in central defence go from bad to worse.

City head into Wednesday night’s Champions League opener against Shakhtar Donetsk with just one fit central defender after it was confirmed that John Stones is facing up to six weeks on the side-lines through injury.

City had already been rocked by the news that Aymeric Laporte is on the side-lines until the new year with a knee injury, meaning Nicolas Otamendi is the only fit centre-half at the club.

Deep down Guardiola will be regretting not bringing in another central defender while the summer transfer window was open, but he has every faith in Fernandinho.

The Brazilian is a top-class player but has played most of his football in central midfield. That does not concern Guardiola too much, and he has back the player to do a good job filling the void.

"He will do well because my players are well," Guardiola said. "We will create something, it is what it is."

City will also be missing Phil Foden as the youngster has a stomach bug, but apart from that, Guardiola has a full squad to select from.

Guardiola also believes that City are capable of dealing with difficult situations as they go in search of the one trophy that has so far eluded them - the UEFA Champions League.

"Football is not how you handle good situations, but how you handle bad ones," he added.

"We won seven titles, and no-one gave us anything, we did it ourselves.

"As a manager, it’s an incredible challenge with just one central defender, and I like to prove myself."

City beat Shakhtar 3-0 in Ukraine last season but have come unstuck against them in the past and will have to be on their guard again on Wednesday night.

Kick-off is at 21:00 (SA time).

- TeamTalk Media

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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