Begiristain expecting conservative Champions League ties

Txiki Begiristain expects the straight knockout format of the latter stages of this season’s Champions League to lead to more conservative contests.

Manchester City’s Director of Football insists Pep Guardiola’s side are not looking past Real Madrid, who they still need to overcome in the last 16, but believes a watertight defence and solidity will be all-important to the winner of that tie.

Should City progress, all of the remaining games will be held in Lisbon, Portugal with the last eight and last four ties decided over a single game as opposed to home and away ties.

And Begiristain feels that will lead to a change in approach.

“The strategy and the tactics are going to be more conservative just because there is no chance for mistakes, there is no second legs,” he said.

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“You have to be solid and show you are solid in defence and then try to score the goals to take you through.

“It is going to be more tactical in the games and I think the teams will be more conservative than ever.”

Begiristain added that though the incentive of being able to play in Portugal was an attractive one, the fact that games would be played behind closed doors would make it a bittersweet experience for all the teams reaching that stage.

“It is a top city and a beautiful one. But the thing is we cannot take our supporters there,” he added.

“We are going to enjoy the football we are not going to enjoy it without our supporters. The supporters would have enjoyed an unbelievable city like Lisbon so it is a shame.

“Let’s also be careful with the weather because it could be hot and humid so the days before are going to be very important.”

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