Champions League

Man City destined for Champions League glory

2018-04-09 20:26
Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)

Manchester - Pep Guardiola insisted Manchester City are on the road to winning the Champions League for a first time, even if they fail to overcome a 3-0 quarter-final first leg deficit against Liverpool on Tuesday.

A hitherto spectacular second season under Guardiola for City has unravelled in the past week as they were thrashed at Anfield in the first leg, and then let a 2-0 lead slip with the chance to seal the Premier League title against Manchester United in a 3-2 derby defeat on Saturday.

"I know we are judged on results, but on the performances my team is extraordinary. It is not comparable for many others, it's top," Guardiola, whose side still boast a 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League, said on Monday.

"They are exceptional, so I will be close to them no matter what happens between now and the end of the season. It's a joy to be manager of this team, even three days ago the way we played."

City have only once before reached the last four of the Champions League and Guardiola has often spoken about needing to create a culture of European success in his near two-year reign.

But he believes a historic comeback at the Etihad could take City to a new level in the Champions League.

"We need titles in Europe, but that is so complicated. To win titles we need to start with nights like this so the people understand it.

"Maybe not tomorrow, but with what this club has done in last 10 years in terms of creating a lot of facilities. Of course with a lot of investment, but there are a lot of people working here with the desire that sooner or later that is going to happen.

"Hopefully we can do it, if it doesn't happen this season then hopefully in the next one."

But for wasteful finishing, even a much-changed City could have been out of sight before United mounted an unlikely fightback at the weekend.

And with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero set to return to Guardiola's starting XI, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is wary of City's capability to rack up goals in quick succession.

"They do it always, that's how City plays," said Klopp, whose side lost 5-0 on their previous visit to the Etihad this season. "If you saw the first half against United in a normal game for City, against one of the best teams of the world, they could have scored six goals."

Mohamed Salah put Liverpool in front in the tie with his 38th goal of the season last week. But the Egyptian limped off injured early in the second half, and Klopp remained coy over whether Salah will be fit to return having missed Saturday's 0-0 draw at Everton.

"(I'm) not sure 100 percent," said Klopp. "We train at 5pm at Melwood. I would rather yes (he plays) than no, but we have to see and wait for the reaction."

Five-time European champions, Liverpool possess far more pedigree historically than City in the competition, but haven't reached the last four for a decade.

And Klopp rejected the suggestion the club's achievements of the past give them an upper hand on the current City side.

"You can ask if the experience of your grandfather helps you a lot in your life?" the German said wryly.

"We try to do our best to gain experience and tomorrow night it is again a big test for both teams. It will be interesting to see how we deal with that."

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Fixtures
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
Tuesday, 27 November 2018
AEK Athens v Ajax, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Viktoria Plzen, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Valencia, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v Benfica, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Manchester City, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v Young Boys, Old Trafford 22:00
Roma v Real Madrid, Stadio Olimpico 22:00
Hoffenheim v Shakhtar Donetsk, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 22:00
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Atletico Madrid v Monaco, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 19:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Galatasaray, RZD Arena 19:55
Porto v Schalke 04, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
PSG v Liverpool, Parc des Princes 22:00
PSV v Barcelona, Philips Stadion 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge, Signal-Iduna-Park 22:00
Napoli v Crvena Zvezda, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Internazionale, Wembley Stadium 22:00
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