Pep Guardiola unsure if Man City are ready to win Champions League

Football


Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola stressed it’s how his team will react to conceding goals in the Champions League that will decide how far they will go in the competition.

BASEL, Switzerland — Pep Guardiola says he’s not sure whether Manchester City are ready to win the Champions League yet ahead of their round-of-16 clash with Basel.

City have only gone beyond the first knockout stage of the competition once before — in 2015 when they reached the semifinals.

Guardiola has said City lack the experience to compete with the best sides in Europe asked if the big teams in Europe would be scared of facing City ahead of their first leg clash with Basel, he told a news conference: “I don’t know, really I don’t. I don’t know if we are ready or not.

“I have a lot of confidence in the guys, there’s no doubt and they know it, but this competition is special so I don’t know.

“Our target is to do better than last season, which is to go to the quarter-finals, that would be enough for the short term and after that we’ll see.

“We did better for seven or eight months this season than last season and we cannot deny — in every single game we were there. But this competition is so special from my experience, the teams are so clinical and you have to be too.

“How you control the bad moments in 180 minutes, if you do that you have a big chance to go through.

“We’ll try to do the same — the way we prepare will be the same for how we prepare for the Premier League, the FA Cup the same.”

Guardiola has at least been boosted by the return of David Silva, Fabian Delph and Leroy Sane, who have all travelled to Switzerland as has Aymeric Laporte, who missed training on Monday with a cold.

Sane has made a surprisingly quick recovery after damaging ankle ligaments in the FA Cup win over Cardiff City on Jan. 28 and Guardiola said he could start despite taking part in only one training session since.

“I’m surprised [he’s already back]. He worked a lot, I couldn’t expect from such a young how professional he was,” Guardiola said.

“He’s not in perfect condition but he won a lot of time and he wants to help us. He’s with us and that’s good news. They made a good job — the physios and himself.”

Jonathan is ESPN FC’s Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.



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