Pep sends Barca warning ahead of Euro clash
PEP GUARDIOLA has warned his former club Barcelona: I’m coming back to beat you.
The Manchester City boss has been unbowed by a win-less run of three matches and says he will not abandon his principles just to avoid defeat on his return to his spiritual home in the Champions League tomorrow.
“Not too many teams have won there in recent years but I never approach a game thinking a draw will be a good result,” he said.
“We have four games left in our group and we need to win two to be in the next round. And we are going to try to get the first of those points in the next game, that is for sure.
“I know the way we want to play but, of course, we have to understand exactly who we are facing. Will a draw be a good result? It depends on the game.
“If we play like we did against Everton then it is not a good result. But if Barcelona play much better than us then maybe it is a good result.”
Guardiola is ready to leave penalty-taking responsibilities with Sergio Aguero even though the striker has missed an astonishing six spotkicks in 2016.
Aguero followed up his miss for Argentina against Paraguay last week by seeing his tame effort saved by Everton’s Maarten Stekelenburg – who also saved one from Kevin De Bruyne - on Saturday.
Aguero missed two penalties in a matter of minutes during City’s away win over Steaua Bucharest in August and last season had spotkicks saved against Aston Villa in March and Paris St Germain in April.
And Everton boss Ronaldo Koeman reckons Aguero might have a “mental problem” if City are awarded a spotkick in the Nou Camp, where he missed one in 2015.
But Guardiola is prepared to leave a decision up to leading scorer Aguero.
“I love the players who have the personality to take the penalties,” he said. “So I will never say to a player who wants to take the penalties, ‘No, I want someone else to take them’.
“He’s intelligent so if he’s not feeling confident like this, then he will say, ‘I’ll step back and let another guy to kick the penalty’.
Asked if Aguero had the character to take one in the Nou Camp he replied: “Yes.”
But Koeman said: “It is maybe a little bit of a mental question for Augero because it is not the first time he has missed.” – Express Newspapers