Guardiola says Man City ‘ready’ for Real Madrid test

Action from the Champions League last-16 first leg tie between Manchester City and Real Madrid in the Bernabeu in February. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 07 August 2020

Guardiola says Man City ‘ready’ for Real Madrid test

  • City host Zinedine Zidane’s team in the 2nd leg of their last-16 tie, leading 2-1 after their win in February

LONDON: Pep Guardiola says Manchester City want to impose their game when they meet Real Madrid in their postponed Champions League match on Friday, believing his side are  ready to face the 13-time champions.

City host Zinedine Zidane’s team in the second leg of their last-16 tie, leading 2-1 after their win in the Bernabeu in February.

Guardiola’s side lost their Premier League crown to Liverpool but have a chance to finish the coronavirus-interrupted season by becoming European champions for the first time.

“We want to play our own game,” the City boss said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

“We want to impose our own style on the game, whether we’re defending or playing on the counter-attack or whether Madrid are countering.

“What we want to try and do is take the game to certain areas of the field where we can hurt Real Madrid, where we can show the qualities of our players.”

He added: “I had the feeling now, today, that we are ready to play the game tomorrow and do a good performance and win the game,” he said. “That’s my feeling, we are ready.”

But Guardiola warned that it was vital for his side to cut out the defensive mistakes that have hurt his side this season.

“More than conceding the goals, it’s the way that we conceded the goals,” he said. “When they are brilliant and make a good action we have to accept it.

“But for most of them it was goals that could have been avoided. We have to avoid it. Making mistakes in this competition punishes you a lot.”

Midfielder Rodri said the mood in the camp was good and he felt City were the better team.

But he believes playing Real presents unique challenges.

“They are more than a team,” he said. “I think they have that way of playing that you can never relax, even if you’re winning 3-0, 4-0. They always come back and they have the huge personality to become the champions they have been in the last 20, 30 years.

“It’s the biggest team in this competition and they have showed that to the world but now football has changed a little bit — it’s so competitive, the distances between teams are so, so narrow.

“I know we have a better team but we have to show that we are a better team on the pitch tomorrow.”

Guardiola revealed defender Eric Garcia has turned down the offer of a contract extension at the Etihad Stadium.

The highly rated 19-year-old center back has been linked with a return to his boyhood club Barcelona.

“He told us he doesn’t want to extend his contract with Manchester City,” said Guardiola. “He has one more year then after that he doesn’t want to extend.

“We want it but he doesn’t want to extend the contract. I imagine he wants to play in another place.”


Davis, Lakers beat Nuggets to take 3-1 lead in West finals

Updated 25 September 2020

Davis, Lakers beat Nuggets to take 3-1 lead in West finals

  • Game 5 is Saturday, when the Lakers can reach the NBA Finals for the first time in a decade

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida: The Los Angeles Lakers are a victory away from returning to the NBA Finals — and only another comeback from 3-1 down by the Denver Nuggets can stop them.
Anthony Davis scored 34 points, LeBron James had 26 and the Lakers beat the Nuggets 114-108 on Thursday night in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.
Davis got the Lakers off to a fast start with his scoring and James helped them finish it with his defense, forcing Jamal Murray into some late misses after the guard had kept the Nuggets in it with an array of high-difficulty baskets.
James added nine rebounds and eight assists, and the Lakers had 12 offensive rebounds for a whopping 25-6 advantage in second-chance points.
Game 5 is Saturday, when the Lakers can reach the NBA Finals for the first time in a decade.
The Nuggets will be facing elimination for the seventh time in the bubble. They were down 3-1 against Utah in the first round and climbed out of the same hole against the Los Angeles Clippers in the West semifinals.
But they couldn’t come back in this game, getting within one point in the opening minute of the fourth quarter but constantly turned back from there by a key stop or rebound by the Lakers.
The Lakers have 16 championships, one behind Boston for the most in NBA history, but they haven’t played for one since winning their most recent title in 2010.
The Lakers started Dwight Howard at center and he had 12 points and 11 rebounds, helping put Nikola Jokic into foul trouble.
Murray had 32 points and eight assists, but Jokic finished with just 16 points and seven rebounds.
Davis scored 27 points in Game 3 but the 6-foot-10 forward acknowledged that his two-rebound performance was “unacceptable.” He came out much more aggressively Thursday after the Lakers played from behind much of the last game.
With an array of short jumpers, Davis made his first six shots before anyone else on the Lakers made a basket. Then Howard scored on consecutive follow shots before James followed with his first two field goals.
Murray kept the Lakers from getting too far away with a 7-for-8 start. He followed his acrobatic layup around James with 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the half with a pair of free throws that cut it to four, before the Lakers took a 60-55 edge to the locker room.
The Nuggets shot 59% in the first half but the Lakers had an 18-2 advantage in second-chance points.
The Lakers seemed to be taking control when Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined for a flurry that pushed the lead to 11 with under 4 minutes remaining in the third, but Michael Porter Jr. hit two 3-pointers late in the period that cut it to 87-84 going to the fourth.
TIP-INS
Lakers: Howard hadn’t started in any of his 10 postseason appearances and didn’t play much at all in the last round, when the Lakers went small to match up against the Houston Rockets. He made two starts in the regular season. ... Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points and Rondo had 11.
Nuggets: Jerami Grant scored 17 points and Porter had 13.
THOUGHTS FOR TAYLOR
James had the words “We want justice” written next to Breonna Taylor’s name on his sneaker. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said the news a day earlier that a Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for the Black woman’s shooting death hit the players hard.
“It’s heartbreaking, and you know, there’s really no silver lining to it. It’s a reminder of, it’s not just — it’s hard for Breonna Taylor, her family, and everybody that was invested in this,” Vogel said.
“But it’s just a reminder of all the other acquittals when unarmed black men are being killed, and it’s just something that’s hit us hard. Just a reminder that, you know, how important it is for all of us to vote and to be educated on all the potential police reform bills that are out there, and just play our part and do everything we can to help affect change.”
MILLSAP’S VOTING LOCATION
The Nuggets announced a partnership between forward Paul Millsap and DeKalb County to make the CORE4 training facility in Chamblee, Georgia as a general election voting center. Millsap, wearing “Vote” on his jersey during the restart, is the founder of the facility that will be open for early voting from Oct. 12-30.