Guardiola anticipating difficult Red Star assignment

Pep Guardiola believes City will face an ‘aggressive’ Red Star Belgrade as the defence of our Champions League crown begins.

The Catalan’s side lock horns with the reigning Serbian SuperLiga champions on the European stage at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday 19 September at 20:00 (UK).

It represents our first fixture in the prestigious competition since our iconic 1-0 win over Inter in last season’s showpiece in Turkey.

And the boss believes we will have to be at our scintillating best to start the 2023/24 tournament with three points against Barak Bakhar’s side who went an entire season unbeaten last term.

“I remember Red Star. I remember when I was a young boy, Maradona playing there and make a goal when he kicked the ball over the keeper,” he explained.

“I remember that fresh in my memory and the amazing squad. 

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“Always is a nice atmosphere. I remember perfectly well in Croatia. The culture for Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro this kind. Lovely countries and they have an incredible mentality.

"They are competitors. All the incredible athletes water polo, look now Djokovic all the incredible athletes. All the competitors. I don’t know why but for the schools for the kids they have something special.  

"[They are] so aggressive. In some moments they don’t defend man to man. Sometimes they defend man to man. We have to be ready. [They are] quick in the transitions good runners.

“Typical system a 5-3-2 when they attack or a 5-2-3 with a lot of players in the final third. We have to be able to read well what we have to do tomorrow.

"Well I saw last season [Bakhar was] with Maccabi Haifa in a difficult group against Juventus, Benfica and PSG.

“What I saw, because we saw a little bit, my staff analayse what he has done with Maccabi Haifa against Mbappe, Messi and Neymar for example. Very impressed with the courage and bravery to play against them. Doesn't matter what happened.

“We think tomorrow is going to be quite similar.”

Watch Guardiola's full press-conference in the video player above!

City v Red Star app coverage

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Minute-by-minute text updates will begin in our Matchday Centre two hours before kick-off, whilst our Matchday Live show will begin at 18:45 (UK).

David James, Steph Houghton and Steve Howey are special guests on the latest Matchday Live show, offering their expert insight at half-time and in greater detail after the final whistle.

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