Mens Team

Guardiola: We are ready to progress

Guardiola: We are ready to progress
Pep Guardiola believes City are ready to beat Real Madrid and progress to the tournament phase of this season’s Champions League.

City go into Friday’s last-16 decider 2-1 ahead from February’s first leg at the Bernabeu.

But Real Madrid, 13-times winners of the competition, have been in fine form since football resumed, winning 10 and drawing one of their 11 La Liga matches, a run that saw them leapfrog Barcelona and win the Spanish title.

Guardiola has spent two full weeks honing his squad on the training field ahead of Friday’s showdown, and on the evidence of what he has seen, he feels confident we can move through to the quarter-finals.

“I have the feeling today we are ready to play tomorrow, have a good performance and win the game,” a bullish Guardiola said.

“That’s my feeling: we are ready.

“Yeah, we want to [make history]. We want to win this competition, for sure.

“To win it, you have to beat teams like Madrid. We have to win tomorrow and the next rounds.”

City have shown throughout Guardiola’s time in charge we are capable of scoring plenty of goals.

This season we again hit a century in the Premier League alone, completing a succession of big wins since football resumed.

But a weakness we have shown in recent seasons is a propensity to conceded goals in bursts during big Champions League encounters, with Tottenham, Liverpool and Monaco all capitalising. 

Guardiola says he has recognised the issue and spoken at length with his players in order to improve – but says his preparations this week have been focused on the ways in which we can hurt our opponents.

“Yeah, definitely [that’s an area we need to improve],” he said.

“More than just conceding, it’s the way we concede. If it’s a good action, we accept - but most of them we could have avoided.

“We know it, we spoke about that. Not now but in the last years.

“We know it. If we want to win this competition, we have to be better in this area.”

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Meanwhile, Guardiola says he still isn’t sure whether Sergio Aguero would be fit and available to play if City are to progress beyond the last 16.

The Argentine, who has scored 23 goals in 32 games this season, is still in Barcelona as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Guardiola says he is in contact with the doctors about Sergio’s progress.

“Right now I don't know. He is in Barcelona. He is getting better. I spoke to doctors and everything is what we thought, Hopefully he can be back with us but I don't know.”

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