Guardiola predicts ‘incredibly tough’ Ancelotti challenge in decisive Real Madrid clash

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Pep Guardiola knows Manchester City will need to perform “incredibly” if they are to maintain their lead over Real Madrid in their Champions League semi-final.

Manchester City will lock horns once again with Real Madrid on Wednesday night for a place in the Champions League final. Guardiola’s side have a slender advantage from the first leg, which they won 4-3 at the Etihad Stadium.

But it will be all to play for at the Bernabeu as they attempt to reach a second consecutive European final.

For the next instalment of the challenge, Guardiola will once again be unable to call upon centre-back John Stones, who is “not ready” – but still has a decision to make about Kyle Walker.

Of the full-back, he told a press conference: “He trained, he’ll travel and we decide tomorrow. Happy he’s back, he tries to be in contention tomorrow.

“Joao [Cancelo] is not out; he’s doing good. Kyle we’ll see how he wakes up and we’ll see.”

Asked if he could pick the same team, Guardiola replied: “I don’t know what’s going to happen. The selection is try to win the game.

“There are moments you train really bad before the game and do exceptional performance or train really well and the guys do bad. There are things we did well and things we have to improve.”

One man who could be firmly within Guardiola’s thoughts is Gabriel Jesus. He has been restored to a centre-forward role recently after playing much of the season on the wing.

In turn, the exit-linked Brazilian has found his form again, with a four-goal haul against Watford followed by a strike in the first leg against Real and then one in their most recent win over Leeds.

Guardiola said: “Are you telling me he’s a striker? He scored five goals, I’m more than happy for these goals. He’s ready, like everyone is ready.”

Jesus scored on his last visit to the Bernabeu, when City beat Real 2-1 in the Round of 16 in February 2020.

On the prospect of repeating such a performance, Guardiola responded: “He played well, hopefully. Not just him but the rest.

“It was two years ago, don’t give me any reasons that he was going well yesterday.”

Guardiola congratulates Ancelotti for La Liga win

Carlo Ancelotti greeting Pep Guardiola
Carlo Ancelotti greeting Pep Guardiola

Real Madrid go into this meeting buoyed by their recent coronation as La Liga champions. Manchester City, for their part, are still top of the Premier League, but Liverpool are at their heels.

Guardiola has obviously been aware of Carlo Ancelotti’s achievements in Spain, though, and had some complimentary words for the former Chelsea and Everton manager.

He said: “Congratulations to him for winning the Spanish league. I did it, he did it last week. I admire him, he’s been all over the world, big football countries and fantastic teams.

“Always incredibly tough, the football is really good. Part of that is he’s an exceptional person. I met him years ago and every time with him he’s calm, controls his emotions perfectly.”

Consequently, Guardiola expects Ancelotti to set up a side who will give City a run for their money.

He predicted: “Two good teams, we saw it one week ago. They are champions in Spain, we are trying to be champions here. I said a week ago, we’re in the semi-final to try and be in the second final in a row.”

And to get there, Guardiola knows what will be required from his men after their first-leg exertions.

The ex-Barcelona boss said: “Probably, we have to be better but we can play much worse than we played and we can win. We cannot deny my assessment is right. Nobody knows.

“Sometimes you get what you don’t deserve, sometimes you don’t get what you deserve. We have to perform incredibly well and win the game.”

The winners of the tie will meet either Liverpool or Villarreal in the final, with the other semi-final taking place on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Man City star could move twice this summer with chain reaction to benefit all but Guardiola

The article Guardiola predicts ‘incredibly tough’ Ancelotti challenge in decisive Real Madrid clash appeared first on Teamtalk.com.

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