The future of Manchester City starts against Real Madrid … the club’s reputation is uncertain, but Pep Guardiola must remain focused on the last 16 draw with the ban on the UEFA Champions League
- Manchester City is preparing for a Champions League clash with Real Madrid
- But the club is struggling with the possibility of a two-year European ban
- They appealed against UEFA’s decision after alleging that they had violated FFP rules
- These are awkward times for Pep Guardiola with City’s reputation at stake
- Guardiola has a chance to give the city season a new boost against Real
If this has not been the simplest season in Pep Guardiola’s life, a touch of familiarity may be just what he needs.
Sitting in the Bernabeu press room on Tuesday evening, the Manchester City coach – of course Barcelona’s legendary – declared himself very happy to be back.
“It’s one of the big stadiums,” he smiled.
These must be awkward times for Pep Guardiola while Man City fights against their UEFA ban
“It is an honor and I will enjoy it. That’s all I can do. ‘There is not much to enjoy for Guardiola lately. His Premier League castle is about to be fired by Liverpool, while UEFA’s judgment that City has manipulated a path around their Financial Fair Play rules has brought a two-year European ban on the horizon.
But when it comes to a challenge on the football field, nothing really changes. Real Madrid has always made Guardiola’s pulse faster and in a competition that has tormented him in recent seasons, City offers the opportunity to give a new impulse and direction to their season.
“We’re playing the kings of the competition,” Guardiola added.
Raheem Sterling is fit to face Madrid and complimented their upcoming opponents
The City Team tries to keep its attention on the field with the reputation of the club in the dark
“We know the challenge that we face. Let’s see if we can find our real levels and play the game. “Guardiola was in Madrid for a media that had been hostile to him for so many years, and was not particularly severe under pressure about City’s recent problems with European rules. David Silva – seated on his right – reassured the room that the playing staff had not thought too much about.
“It’s not our fault,” said Silva.
But what is at stake in the coming weeks – while City is waiting for an appeal at the Arbitration Court for Sport – is the club’s reputation. That is – as well as anything else – what this problem is fundamentally about.
Guardiola liked to talk about this and said for the first time that the club had shown him the evidence that they claim to be clean.
“We were suspected for a long time and we have the right to appeal,” he added.
“I trust the people in my club. They explained the reasons and they showed me the arguments and the evidence.
Guardiola says his City side is up against the “kings of the Champions League” in Real Madrid
How Real Madrid and Man City could perform on Wednesday evening in Bernabeu
“We are optimistic that we can finally do it next season if we deserve to be in the Champions League.
“If it doesn’t happen in the end, we have to accept and move on. We are going to see what happens with CAS. It is not extra motivation for us. These players have many opportunities in this competition in the future.
“Unless you die, you know there’s always a chance.
‘There must always be a desire to play and win. Without it it’s impossible. More than that it’s another game – that’s all. ‘A check freak like all great managers, these must be awkward times for Guardiola. His future – at least in Europe – is very much out of his hands and he cannot control it.
On the field he confirmed that Raheem Sterling is fit and it will be interesting to see if his forward star is playing. Sterling was photographed in the Spanish media last week with a Real-shirt on one shoulder and a City on the other. In the accompanying article he said some very nice things about his opponents. It seemed odd to do for a player who emphasizes his dedication to his current club.
“He’s fit,” Guardiola said.
“His natural physical condition and ability to recover is amazing. He thought he could play against West Ham and then against Leicester. The medic said one month and he wanted to play after 15 days. ”
The Spaniard said he trusts people in the club in their ongoing dispute with UEFA over FFP rules
A journey deep into this competition would be a filip for City and indeed for English football. The city has given us a lot to admire in recent years and it would be good to think about that.
The legacy of Guardiola in the game is already safe, given his work at the three clubs where he has coached, even if he admitted that he can still find improvement in his own work.
Told that former Bayern Munich striker Thomas Muller had suggested that Guardiola was too obsessed with the opposition while he was with the German club, and replied by saying, “If an ex-player makes that statement, it’s not a criticism, it’s information for me.
‘But I have a duty to know as much as possible about my opponent.
“I haven’t seen Madrid in five years. Thomas and the others cannot say that I am not prepared to win games. As a player, I think that if I know more about the opponent, I have faith to know what I’m dealing with.
“If Thomas felt that [it was too much] it’s good information. Maybe it’s my fault. “It is unlikely that City will be sufficiently prepared this evening. The future of City – whatever it is – starts here.