Champions League

Guardiola wants 'perfect' City against Barca

2016-10-31 18:45
Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)

Manchester - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted his players must keep their discipline and produce the "perfect" performance to beat Barcelona in the Champions League at Eastlands on Tuesday.

Guardiola's side lost 4-0 in their Group C encounter against the Spanish giants at the Nou Camp on October 19 -- their fifth defeat in as many meetings with the Catalan club.

City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was sent off in that match and Guardiola acknowledged the importance of keeping 11 players on the pitch against a side of Barcelona's class.

"We know we need to play almost perfectly," Guardiola, who guided Barcelona to two Champions League titles while manager from 2008-12 after starring for the club as a player, told a news conference on Monday.

"It's always difficult in the Champions League. Ten versus 11 against Barcelona is almost impossible. We have to improve that otherwise it is impossible to achieve the target.

"I have never thought we can't win a football match and I will never start to think that way, even though we lost 4-0. We'll give it a go. We know it is difficult and they are a difficult opponent.

"Maybe we are going to change the way we press, the build-up, many things. I would like to play in a good level. What passed in Barcelona, that is not the reason for what it is going to happen here.

"We have to be focused in 90 minutes knowing they are going to provoke our mistakes with the quality they have. In that moment we try to keep going and finish better than in Barcelona."

Barcelona top the group at the halfway point with three victories from their three matches, while City have four points after a draw against Celtic and victory over Borussia Monchengladbach.

Guardiola said the group standings meant Tuesday's match was of greater significance for City than Barcelona.

"It is not a final for them. It is a final for us," the 45-year-old explained.

"There are just three games left. We dropped two points in Glasgow against Celtic and we need to recover those points.

"Every manager, every trainer has his plans. We know them, they know us. But football is unpredictable. Hopefully our quality in front can make a difference.

"In the first half we played well at Camp Nou but the two wide players for Barcelona are almost unstoppable. The only thing I can ask of our players is they play the way they know."

With Bravo suspended following his red card in the first fixture, Willy Caballero will start in goal for the match at the Etihad Stadium and Guardiola has every confidence in the 35-year-old goalkeeper.

"He has helped me very much from the first few games," Guardiola said.

"I like Willy on a personal level and as a goalkeeper he has played and given a lot of confidence. If he plays well, we're all be happy with him. If he doesn't, then we will support him. But I have no doubts about him."

City forward Nolito also said striker Sergio Aguero will be a key player against Barcelona and insisted his team-mates have the self-belief needed to beat the La Liga champions.

"I think he's one of the best strikers in the world," Nolito said. "And it's a pride to have him in the team and we hope he has one of those days where he scores lots of goals.

"Sincerely, we have to beat Barcelona one day. We have to win this one because of the situation we're in. We have to. Knowing how strong they are we will have to be at our best."

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 02 October 2018
Juventus v Young Boys, Allianz Stadium 18:55
Hoffenheim v Manchester City, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 18:55
Bayern Munchen v Ajax, Allianz-Arena 21:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Shakhtar Donetsk, Groupama OL Academy Decines-Charpieu 21:00
Manchester United v Valencia, Old Trafford 21:00
AEK Athens v Benfica, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 21:00
Roma v Viktoria Plzen, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
CSKA Moskva v Real Madrid, VEB Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 03 October 2018
PSG v Crvena Zvezda, Parc des Princes 18:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Schalke 04, RZD Arena 18:55
Porto v Galatasaray, Estadio Do Dragao 21:00
Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:00
PSV v Internazionale, Philips Stadion 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Monaco, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Napoli v Liverpool, Stadio San Paolo 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona, Wembley Stadium 21:00
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
AEK Athens v Bayern Munchen, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 18:55
Young Boys v Valencia, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 18:55
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
Ajax v Benfica, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:00
Manchester United v Juventus, Old Trafford 21:00
Roma v CSKA Moskva, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
Hoffenheim v Olympique Lyonnais, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Club Brugge v Monaco, Jan Breydelstadion 18:55
PSV v Tottenham Hotspur, Philips Stadion 18:55
Liverpool v Crvena Zvezda, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Internazionale, Camp Nou 21:00
PSG v Napoli, Parc des Princes 21:00
Lokomotiv Moskva v Porto, RZD Arena 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Galatasaray v Schalke 04, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 21:00
Tuesday, 06 November 2018
Monaco v Club Brugge, Stade Louis II 19:55
Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool, Stadion Rajko Mitic 19:55
Porto v Lokomotiv Moskva, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Internazionale v Barcelona, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Napoli v PSG, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Schalke 04 v Galatasaray, Veltins-Arena 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v PSV, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 07 November 2018
Valencia v Young Boys, Estadio de Mestalla 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Roma, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Manchester United, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v AEK Athens, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid, Doosan Arena 22:00
Benfica v Ajax, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Hoffenheim, Groupama Stadium 22:00
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