Men's Team

Guardiola: Our principles won't change for Gladbach tie

Guardiola: Our principles won't change for Gladbach tie
Pep Guardiola says City will stick to the guiding principles that has brought us a record 18 consecutive wins across all competitions when we resume our Champions League campaign on Wednesday in our last 16 first leg tie against Borussia Monchengladbach.

City will tackle the Bundesliga side in a game that has been moved to Budapest due to COVID-19 safety precautions, on the back of an incredible sequence of 25 unbeaten results across the Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup that has earned us widespread acclaim.

But though we may be resuming Champions League campaign after a gap of almost three months, Guardiola insists there will be no change in either approach or collective focus from the squad.

“It’s the same process, think about the Borussia game, then West Ham, then Wolves, then Manchester United. This is what we are going to do. One step at a time, one game at a time,” the City manager asserted at his pre-match press conference.

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“It’s a football game tomorrow. We change a lot of competitions - Carabao Cup, FA Cup, Premier League and now Champions League.

“It’s a football game, 90 minutes. We will try and do a good game and get a good result, then we will think about West Ham.

“We have a desire to play good - not just in this competition, that desire was there for Arsenal, against Everton. That is what we have to do.

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“After, if we deserve it, we will win and then play the second leg and if we are good enough we are through. No more expectations than that.

"We focus no more than for any other game.”

The boss also stressed that his players would again need to remain focused and alert throughout against a Boussia side that impressed hugely in progressing from a group that also featured Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk.

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And he insisted that proper preparation and due diligence – not just relying on experience were the key factors in trying to achieve success

“I’m not a fan of saying experience in the past helps you. Football shows you lots of examples of teams winning a lot of Champions League winners, and you can lose in 20 minutes,” Guardiola added.

“It’s a game, we have to be focused for 90 minutes like we do in the Premier League. The only difference is players don't know the Monchengladbach players that well.

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“So we have to introduce them. We need to know them a little better. In a tough group with Real, Shakhtar and Inter, they did incredibly well.

“Nothing special, we prepare like we have in the last months.”

Guardiola also reported no fresh injury concerns ahead of the trip to Budapest, confirming that Nathan Ake remained the sole injury issue.

A muscular problem has kept the defender out for 16 games, with his last appearance coming in the Boxing Day win over Newcastle United, but he has started an individual training programme as he nears a return to full fitness.

However, the boss added that he would not make his team selection until seeing how the players reacted and recovered from Sunday’s excellent 1-0 win away at Arsenal.

“Everyone except Nathan is fit,” Guardiola added.

“Right now I am thinking about team selection. I am not clear because I need to see how the players recover and feel. We will decide tomorrow.”

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