Pep Guardiola warns Manchester City they still have it all to do ahead of Champions League clash against Lyon

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City boss Guardiola is taking nothing for granted. (AFP)
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Updated 27 November 2018

Pep Guardiola warns Manchester City they still have it all to do ahead of Champions League clash against Lyon

  • City need a point to clinch a place in the knockout phase for the sixth year running.
  • Young gun Foden set to start.

MANCHESTER: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has warned the Premier League leaders that they still have work to do as they attempt to seal a place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday.
City will clinch a place in the knockout phase for the sixth year running with a draw at Lyon, while victory would wrap up top spot in Group F with a game to spare.
Guardiola’s side suffered a 2-1 loss at home to Lyon in their opening game in September, but City are firmly back on track after winning 12 of their previous 13 matches since their lone defeat of the season.
“When you lose your first game at home the group stage becomes so tough. We did our job winning the next three games and now we try to avoid arriving in the last game needing to win the game to qualify,” Guardiola said.
“We reacted well but the job is not over. We have to win one more game to be there (next round) and hopefully tomorrow we can do that.”
“If you make one or two mistakes you can be out. It’s so dangerous this competition,” he added. “It’s not done until it’s done. We’d like to avoid that pressure to play against Hoffenheim in the final game.
“We came here to do our jobs. The last month has been so good for us, we’ve scored lots of goals and played at a very high level. I want to qualify, that is the first target.”

FODEN TO START?

City left for France without Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus or Ilkay Gundogan due to injury concerns, and highly-rated 18-year-old midfielder Phil Foden could be in line to start.
Foden has made just a handful of appearances as a substitute for City in the league and Europe, but Guardiola had no doubt the teenager would rise to the challenge.
“He’s stronger and more conscious that he’s able to play with us without a doubt,” said Guardiola of Foden’s progression this term.

Phil Foden is highly rated by City coach Guardiola.


“I have the feeling every time he played, he played good. He’s ready, he’s definitely ready.”
Center-back Aymeric Laporte will return to his homeland as an established figure in the City defense, in contrast to his continued absence from Didier Deschamps’ France squad.
Signed for a then club record £57 million ($73 million) in January, Laporte took time to settle in his new surroundings with all three of his Champions League outings last season ending in defeat.
But the 24-year-old was the beneficiary of a full pre-season under Guardiola after being overlooked for the World Cup, and he is City’s only outfield player to have played every single minute of Champions League and Premier League action this campaign.
“We try to learn day after day and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do to ensure that I earn Pep’s confidence,” said Laporte.
His lack of international commitments has afforded Laporte ample time to recover and allowed him to devote his undivided attention to helping City on all fronts.
“Maybe for the French people it (his selection) will have an impact but I play for Manchester City and the objective is to be high-performing for them today, tomorrow and in the future.”


Al-Hilal players to arrive in Tokyo on Sunday for AFC Champions League final second leg

Updated 16 November 2019

Al-Hilal players to arrive in Tokyo on Sunday for AFC Champions League final second leg

  • Al-Hilal’s director of football Saud Kariri said that anything is possible
  • Blues captain Mohammad Al-Shalhoub said the players were unfortunate not to be further ahead

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal will arrive in the Japanese capital Tokyo on Sunday Nov. 17 to prepare for their AFC Champions League final second leg against Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds at Saitama Stadium.
Al-Hilal enter the second leg under less pressure than their Japanese counterpart, having secured a narrow 1-0 win in the first leg in Riyadh last Sunday.
Al-Hilal players remain optimistic about the final, according to sources, and are looking to avenge losses in 2014 and 2017 finals, when they lost 1-0 in Australia and went down to next week’s opponents Urawa.
Blues captain Mohammad Al-Shalhoub said the players were unfortunate not to be further ahead after the game in Riyadh after wasting many opportunities and coming out with one goal, stressing that they are required to concentrate more in Saitama.
“We will be well-prepared to play against Urawa in the second leg through the camp we will set up in Japan to win the final,” he said.
Al-Hilal’s director of football Saud Kariri said that anything is possible during the 90-minute game at the Saitama Stadium, adding: “We hope our players are lucky to invest well in the opportunities and make it difficult for our opponent to score an early goal.”
The 2019 AFC Champions League Final at Saitama Stadium is expected to see a huge crowd, especially after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced four airplanes will transport Al-Hilal’s fans to support the players in Japan.