‘Pep’s in­side knowl­edge can give City the edge

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

ILKAY GUN­DO­GAN (pix) be­lieves Pep Guardi­ola’s in­side track on Barcelona gives Manch­ester City a big ad­van­tage in their Cham­pi­ons League clash to­day.

Guardi­ola launched his man­age­rial ca­reer in a four-sea­son spell in charge of Barca be­tween 2008 and 2012 and many of the play­ers who played for him are still at the Nou Camp.

City have lost all four of their pre­vi­ous Cham­pi­ons League en­coun­ters with the Cata­lan gi­ants when Manuel Pel­le­grini was man­ager but Ger­man mid­fielder Gun­do­gan reck­ons Guardi­ola’s in­ti­mate knowl­edge of their op­po­nents will be cru­cial.

He said: “It’s a big plus for us be­cause Pep knows them. He knows the team, the club, the sta­dium and he knows [Lionel] Messi. He also knows the Barcelona way, the Cata­lan way, so he knows ev­ery­thing and he will give us some in­for­ma­tion that other man­agers can’t give.

“At the end, though, it’s down to our play­ers to carry out what he wants us to do on the field.”

Gun­do­gan says City will not be scared of the chal­lenge even though he ac­cepts Barca boast the world’s best at­tack­ing tri­umvi­rate in Messi, Luis Suarez and Ney­mar.

He added: “This will be the big­gest chal­lenge so far. They will def­i­nitely be the best team we will have faced. They have world­class play­ers and maybe the world’s best in Messi.

“Away, it will be es­pe­cially tough, a chal­lenge, but we are def­i­nitely not scared. We are cu­ri­ous and want to have this ex­pe­ri­ence and want to play in this sta­dium against this team. It will be ex­cit­ing.”

Gun­do­gan in­sists City’s con­fi­dence has not been dented by the two draws and a de­feat that have slammed the brakes on their 10-game win­ning start to the sea­son. But he ad­mits they must be more clin­i­cal than they were against Ever­ton on Satur­day when they missed two penal­ties.

“No, we’re not wor­ried, “he said. “We played a good game against Ever­ton. It was just the score that was dis­ap­point­ing – the draw was not good for us.

“We missed two penal­ties but we know what we are able to do and we can achieve even more if we do that. That’s our next tar­get.

“It’s about tak­ing your chances in the Cham­pi­ons League. When you play away, you need to have this con­fi­dence, this flow and have the courage to play your own game.

“You can’t af­ford to make mis­takes ei­ther be­cause teams like this will pun­ish you.” – Ex­press News­pa­pers

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