Pep Guardiola has backed Manchester City to qualify from the group stage of the Champions League for the first time, Sky
City have entered the Champions League twice before this season, failing to escape the groups each time, and were eliminated from last year’s competition without winning a game, finishing bottom of the group and missing out on the Europa League as a result. But Guardiola believes new manager Manuel Pellegrini can ensure that this time City are still involved in the competition past Christmas.
“Manchester City are one of the biggest clubs in Europe. I think they have made big steps forward,” Guardiola said. “The last two seasons they didn’t get through (the) first stage but I am 100 per cent confident they will get through to the next round.
“My impression is if they qualify, Manchester City will be one of the toughest teams in the next round. The same happened with Borussia Dortmund last season. They qualified for the next round and went on to the final.”
On his City counterpart, Guardiola added: “I am really impressed with Manuel because I would like to be like him. No matter which club or team he is training, his teams play in the same way. His fingers, his footsteps, his trademark is always there in his teams. It has happened in Villarreal, Malaga, Real Madrid.”
During his time at Barcelona, Guardiola enjoyed a spotless record when up against Pellegrini, going unbeaten against the Chilean’s Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga teams. But, Guardiola insists, it was not a reflection on Pellegrini. “If I beat them all the time it was because I was training one of the best teams in the world, one of the best teams in the history of Barcelona. Sometimes it was easy for me,” the Catalan said.
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