Men's Team

Begiristain: Sporting on the rise again

Manchester City Director of Football Txiki Begiristain says he is excited by the prospect of facing Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League.

City have been drawn to the Portuguese side in the last 16 of the tournament, playing away from home at the José Alvalade Stadium in the first leg before welcoming the Primeira Liga outfit to the Etihad Stadium for the return game.

With the two sides having met previously in European competition and 22-year-old right-back Pedro Porro on loan at Lisbon, Sporting are a Club City are familiar with and Begiristain has been impressed with the way they conduct themselves both on and off the pitch.

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“Everything that can help us to know more about Sporting is always going to be better,” he said.

“We know already the coach, how well they have replaced Bruno Fernandes, Pedro Goncalves scoring goals. We also have Pedro Porro there and we know him very well.

“We know what they are, how good they are doing in the last seasons since their new president Frederico Varandas. We know that they are becoming a top Portuguese club again.

“We know that if you are always top in the Portuguese league, you have to always beat at least Porto and Benfica.

“It means that they are there and we know what it means to play against them. We know from our experiences against Porto in the last seasons.

“It means they are always strong, difficult to beat and it is going to be a challenge, but we are happy to accept it.

“They are solid. They play with a back five and they are a very solid team. In the Champions League they had an unbelievable run. They were in-form.

“We know how they compete, how they win duels and they don’t lack fight. We need to be ready for that.”

Spanish right-back Porro arrived at City in the summer of 2019 but has spent the last two-and-a-half seasons on loan.

After a season at Valladolid in Spain, he joined Sporting ahead of the 2020/21 campaign and has since made 55 appearances, scoring seven goals.

Begiristain believes the Portugal switch was the ideal move for the youngster.

“We know the coach they are playing with, with the back five and Pedro Porro fits perfectly to their system,” he said.

“It is a wonderful city and we know that because we have been dealing with them and they are very, very lovely people.

“The official lunch is going to be great! But the problem is that we have to beat them on the pitch as well.”

Ticket and hospitality details for City's last 16 tie against Sporting will be released in due course.

Be the first to find out ticket information by registering your interest, here

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