Pep Guardiola calls on Manchester City to ‘punish’ Bayern Munich in second leg

  • Premier League champions hold 3-0 advantage from first leg
  • Manager tells players to forget previous Champions League exits

Pep Guardiola has urged Manchester City not to dwell on previous Champions League exits and to try to “punish” Bayern Munich in the quarter-final second leg on Wednesday despite their 3-0 advantage.

City were far superior in the opening game at the Etihad Stadium last week, goals from Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Erling Haaland making them favourites to progress to the semi-final. Yet before that match and when Leipzig were beaten 7-0 in the previous round, Guardiola brought up how by conceding a “lot of goals” against Real Madrid, Tottenham and Monaco these sides eliminated City in previous years.

The manager was asked how he could be sure that these and other similar knockouts – by Liverpool and Lyon – would not be on his players’ minds at Allianz Arena on Wednesday. “We can’t think about the past – that’d be a big mistake for us – so we just prepare for this game,” he said.

Guardiola referenced how the 1-0 deficit to Tottenham in 2019 in a quarter-final opening leg became a 4-4 aggregate defeat on away goals. “It was completely different – we were down,” he said.

“Our mindset will be to prepare for the [Bayern] game by watching the first leg, seeing what we could do better, and how we can control the game and punish them.

“We are here in Munich against one of the most historical sides in the Champions League – we are not here to defend something [the lead]. It’s 11 men against 11 and try to be better than the opponent in this specific game. Our mindset is to try and win the game.”

Guardiola was asked if City will handle the contest if they concede first. “I would like to say yes but I don’t know. Each game is different,” he said. “The pace they have up front is unbelievable. We can’t press in the same way all the time as they have the weapons to understand how we do it. If we do all this stuff, we will win, but I don’t know what will happen.”

Guardiola has Phil Foden available again following an emergency operation for appendicitis. “It’s good news for us. He had one training session so he will be on the bench. I don’t know [how many minutes he is capable of] – but he’s special, he doesn’t need a lot of training sessions to be fit.”

Like his manager, Ilkay Gündogan offered a cautious note. “It’s about finding a balance – our team is about starting every game with a view to winning it. We want the ball, possession, to win – but we need to play in a mature way,” the Germany midfielder said.

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola said Manchester City would try to control the second leg in Munich. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters

“We know from our own games and experiences in the past, everything is possible. You can get incredible results that you won’t believe beforehand so we take it very seriously.”

Gündogan’s contract expires in the close season. “There are talks in the background – that’s normal with a couple of months left,” he said. “There’s nothing decided yet, not from my side, not from the club’s side – the talks continue. My physical condition – that also plays a part in [whether to leave].”

Thomas Tuchel admitted that his team must believe they can still progress. “We need a miracle,” Bayern’s head coach said. “It’s the second part of the tie and we have to play two more halves [on Wednesday]. If we play the good first half, it can happen in the second. Everything is possible – we are aware of this.

“If the moment comes and we have luck then everything is possible in football. But there are moments, periods, important decisions by the referee, offsides, chances that are saved: all these things come together. We need to find the belief in us, but that doesn’t mean we dream.

“It’s hard, and it’s a huge mountain to climb. We need to believe – we believe in ourselves but we don’t want to be dreamers – dreaming for me is close to sleeping and if you cannot do one thing, you cannot sleep for one second. We need to believe and make it happen by performance, team spirit and energy.”

Tuchel, who may start Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting at centre-forward, will have Sadio Mané available again following his one-game suspension for hitting Leroy Sané in the Bayern changing room at the Eithad Stadium after the first leg last week.


Jamie Jackson in Munich

The GuardianTramp

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