Pep Guardiola Credits Experience for Manchester City's Champions League Success

"I have the feeling that we can [still] lose, but we can be there, not being scared."

by Sead Dedovic
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Pep Guardiola Credits Experience for Manchester City's Champions League Success
© Alex Livesey / Getty Images Sport

In an interview with TNT Sports, Pep Guardiola talked about tonight's Champions League match in which Manchester City will face Copenhagen. Given that City is in great shape, but also the fact that they won the same competition last year, there are high expectations from Pep Guardiola's team. 

Football fans believe that Manchester City may have drawn the easiest opponent. However, Guardiola and his colleagues stress the importance of not underestimating such a team. In a media statement, the Spaniard highlighted the significant progress his team has made since he took charge. When he initially joined, it appeared that the City players lacked the hope of competing with the top teams in European football. Nevertheless, much has changed since that time.


"There are unbelievable teams and unbelievable players, and everyone wishes it and wants it [Champions League title]. It's so difficult, especially for a team which has never won it before and didn’t have experience. But I see the players in the team now compared to when I arrived eight years ago, going on bigger stages like Barcelona, Madrid or whatever. I think we didn't believe it, that we could compete."- Pep Guardiola said, as quoted by eurosport.com

The Spanish expert put special emphasis on experience. When you have the backbone of the team made up of more experienced players, who have been playing in this competition for years, then you have a much easier task to progress and potentially win this competition. Manchester City has several individuals who have been on the team for a couple of years. In addition, winning the Champions League last season gave additional confidence to each of the players. Many believe that City is the biggest favorite to win the competition again this year.

"Now I have the feeling that we can [still] lose, but we can be there, not being scared. Respect the opponents, of course. But face them, 'OK, let's try it'. So, that is the big gap. That gap reduces when you play year by year in this competition – the experience and the defeats and the pain you have in your body. Many things help us to grow up and be in the position that we did in the previous seasons. In three years, two finals and one semi-final. So that means that we learn from the past."

Explaining the risks of exiting the Champions League in the last 16, Guardiola mentioned the considerable time gap between the group stage and knockout rounds. Drawing from his experiences at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, he highlighted the potential challenges. Guardiola stressed the need for caution in their mental approach, encouraging the team to take each step carefully in pursuit of that slim chance of success.

However, no one doubts that the Spanish coach talked a lot with the players and warned them about the danger of this match. Copenhagen is a team that managed to finish second in a group with Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and Galatasaray. It is a truly impressive feat by the Danish team. The players of the English team must take this challenge seriously, given that Copenhagen has shown many times this season they're a serious team that can compete with the best teams in Europe.

Jacob Neestrup, the Copenhagen coach on the match

Copenhagen fans are hoping that their team could make a surprise and advance to the next round of the Champions League. Tonight will be a great chance for them to try to get a positive result on their home field, and then be so motivated to visit Manchester. Considering how good their team looks this season, there is no shortage of optimism in Denmark.

Jacob Neestrup, the Copenhagen coach, talked about the strength of Manchester City while comparing them to other top teams like Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and Galatasaray. 

Jacob Neestrup
Jacob Neestrup© Ian MacNicol / Getty Images Sport
 

He highlighted the human aspect of the players, suggesting that, just like any team, they are not unbeatable. Neestrup expressed confidence by stating that they play with the belief that they have a chance of winning. Additionally, he mentioned the supportive atmosphere in their stadium, indicating the positive impact of fan encouragement on the team's performance.

Tonight we will have the opportunity to watch a great match between two teams that are excelling this season. Although City is the absolute favorite in this match, it should not surprise anyone if Copenhagen gets a positive result. The second match tonight will be the one between Real Madrid and RB Leipzig. According to many, this is an even more interesting match. RB Leipzig is not particularly good in the Bundesliga this season, while Real Madrid is doing impressive things on several fronts.

Pep Guardiola Manchester City Champions League
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