Interviews

Guardiola: We must learn from previous semi-finals

Pep Guardiola says that while the experience of Champions League semi-finals in recent years will help his side in Wednesday’s second leg with Real Madrid, it is no guarantee of progression.

We take a 4-3 lead to the Santiago Bernabeu following a breathless encounter at the Etihad Stadium last week, with a second final in two seasons up for grabs.

This is our third appearance at the final four stage of Europe’s elite cup competition, after a 4-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain last season and a 2016 defeat against this week’s opponents.

Asked in his pre-match press conference about how that taste of semi-final success in 2021 will benefit his players against the newly crowned Spanish champions, Pep said: “The question is what did you learn from this experience? Every game in this competition is different. It’s difficult to compare last season to tomorrow.

“It’s about how the guys wake up, what their mood is and how they perform. We have been there - and we have been there quite often - that is good. We know how to handle it. It helps. But it is no guarantee we will play good. We have to perform our best to reach the final.”

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Last week’s seven-goal thriller has left the tie in the balance and Pep knows that all results are possible against the 13-time European champions.

He said: “We can play much, much worse than we played [in the first-leg] and still win! No one can deny that my assessment is right, football is unpredictable, sometimes you get something you don't deserve. In these stages we have to perform incredibly well.”

In terms of his line-up, the City boss said he will make a final decision on the fitness of Kyle Walker on Wednesday morning and confirmed that John Stones, who started at right-back in the first leg, is unavailable through injury.

When asked whether his team will shape up in a similar fashion to last week, he kept his cards close to his chest.

“There is no guarantee the same guys will play the same way,” he stated.

“I don't know what will happen tomorrow. We try and win the game with the best XI possible. We saw the game and there are things we want to improve. We will try to do it.”

Our manager also reserved some special words of praise for his opposite number, Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian is one of only three managers to have won the Champions League three times and one of only two to have managed teams in four finals.

He said: “I admire him. He has been all around the world in the biggest football countries with fantastic teams, and everywhere he always did an incredible job.

“His football is always really good. He is an exceptional person. He is a calm person and he can control his emotions and his team express perfectly who he is.”

Real Madrid v City 

We will have full coverage of Wednesday's game right here on the official Man City app

Our Matchday Centre gets under way at 18:00, providing you with live text updates. 

Matchday Live will start around 18:45 when team news is announced. Trevor Sinclair and Nedum Onuoha are our studio guests for that one. 

You can also enjoy full match commentary with Ali Mann and Andy Morrison. 

Highlights will be available at 23:00 and CITY+ subscribers can watch a full 90-minute replay from midnight. 

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