Men's Team

City looking no further ahead than Leipzig, says Rodrigo

City looking no further ahead than Leipzig, says Rodrigo
Rodrigo insists Manchester City are looking no further ahead than Wednesday’s Champions League opener against RB Leipzig as we prepare to launch our 2021/22 European campaign.

Pep Guardiola’s side reached the final of last season’s showpiece before being edged out by Chelsea in the final and City have been tipped by many observers to go one better this term and lift the European Cup for the first time.

However, addressing the media at Tuesday’s pre-match press conference, Spanish midfielder Rodrigo highlighted the quality of all the sides in the competition – not least City’s Group A opponents, RB Leipzig, Paris Saint-Germain of France and Belgian side Club Brugge.

Given such tough opposition, Rodrigo insisted that City’s sole focus was on seeking to overcome the challenge of Bundesliga side Leipzig – who were semi-finalists in the 2020 Champions League – at the Etihad tomorrow evening.

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Asked if there was a sense of unfinished business from last term, Rodrigo said: “I would sign up now to get into another final. It’s hard. You have to do a lot to get in this situation.

“But it’s not good to look too far forward. We face Leipzig, we are in a very difficult group and it’s the first step.

“We shouldn't think too much about the final. We have to go step by step. First, we pass the group and then let’s see.

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“The Champions League is that hard any team can send you off. It’s the reality of football and the Champions League.

“Tomorrow we face Leipzig who have very, very good players and play in a very specific way. They can compete with all the teams.

“We have very tough group - we will show the same level and go for it. It will be so tough.

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“I have experience of Club Brugge and they are tough.

“As I say, tomorrow we have the first step. First games are the most important so you can follow a good road. If we win first two, three games we can be a little more relaxed.

“It's a tough group and we focus only on our group.”

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Reflecting on last season’s European experiences, the 25-year-old said all the City squad had learned valuable lessons from the campaign.

And he believed that knowledge and know-how will only help as another Champions League challenge gets under way.

“We did a great season, we were proud of what we achieved,” Rodrigo added.

“As I say, it was the first time in our history we arrived in the final. All the players in the squad have a bit more ambition and experience every year.

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“There are no regrets - we have to be so proud and happy about the experience.

“The Champions League is like this, decided by a little difference.

“Now we face Leipzig, and we can start building this season to win the Champions League. It’s in our head but we are focused on tomorrow.

“We have the experience, we need to work, we need a little bit of luck, but I am pretty sure we will do a great season again.”

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