Pep Guardiola expects ‘toughest game’ as Man City boss with place in Champions League final on the line

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James Robson
·2-min read
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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola is ready for his “toughest game” in his bid to take Manchester City to the Champions League final for the first time.

The Premier League leaders hold a 2-1 advantage over Paris Saint-Germain going into tonight’s clash at the Etihad.

Guardiola, who twice won the competition as Barcelona manager, has also lost on five occasions at this stage, so is aware of the dangers posed by Mauricio Pochettino’s team, who were beaten finalists last season.

The Catalan said: “In the final, it’s completely different. The second leg of the semi-final is always the toughest game, more than the final.

“From my experience, the semi-finals are always difficult because you know you play with the result of the first leg in your mind and you’re thinking, ‘Final, final, final.’

REUTERS
REUTERS

“Sometimes you can forget what you have to do, which is to win the game you are playing. That’s why I’m not thinking much about that.

“Always in my experience it’s always difficult in the semi-finals, not just in this club, but in all the clubs I have been at.”

PSG are hoping Kylian Mbappe is passed fit to start after taking part in training last night, following a calf injury.

Pochettino, meanwhile, is aiming for another unforgettable night at the Etihad after his epic Champions League quarter-final triumph against City when Tottenham manager in 2019.

“In football you need to believe,” he said. “We will try to win and score goals. Of course we are under a little bit of pressure, but in football you need to try.

“We’re going to have to be clinical and aggressive. We need two goals. It’s going to be a battle, it’s going to be difficult, but we have to be ready.

“There is no extra pressure. Paris have not played so many semi-finals in recent years. You will have to enjoy it, be relaxed, prepare as well as possible and enjoy this moment. It’s the only way to give yourself a chance to make the finals.”

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