Manchester City players be calm and know what you have to do: Pep Guardiola
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says his players must control their emotions and take the opportunity to make history when they face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League semi-final second leg on Tuesday.
City hold a 2-1 lead after an impressive performance in Paris last week and Guardiola’s men are within touching distance of their first Champions League final.
Guardiola, who won the trophy twice as Barcelona coach, has urged his team to play with the same confidence that has helped them dominate the Premier League this season.
“We don’t want to miss this opportunity. I have the feeling we are going to do well,” Guardiola told his news conference. “It’s the first time most of us are here together — I know what we’re playing for, in these games you don’t need much emotions — be calm and know what you have to do.
“They have to visualise they can do it. What we have to do is no different to what they’ve done in last seven months, go out there, play our game and win.”
PSG forward Kylian Mbappe is doubtful for the match at the Etihad Stadium having missed the weekend’s league win over Lens with a calf injury.
Video footage circulating on social media showed the French World Cup winner limping on his arrival in Manchester, but Guardiola has no doubts over Mbappe’s availability.
“He’s going to play. I’m looking forward to him playing,” Guardiola said. “For the football, for the game itself, hopefully he can play.”
Guardiola’s PSG counterpart Mauricio Pochettino also said Mbappe should be fit for the crucial match.
Pochettino could offer no guarantees over Mbappe’s availability, but he hopes to have the forward at his disposal. “I’m optimistic for Kylian,” Pochettino told reporters. “We assess him day by day. I think he’ll be able to play.”
Pochettino admitted it had been tough to recover from their defeat to City, particularly after an impressive first-half performance.
They had nine shots to City’s four in the opening 45 minutes and deservedly led through Marquinhos’ header, but second-half goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez put the visitors in the driving seat.
“The night after City was difficult. Against [City], we played our best 45 minutes of the past four months. It wasn’t easy.” Idrissa Gueye is set to serve a European suspension, having seen red in a 2-1 first leg defeat for PSG, but he made the trip to Manchester alongside the rest of teammates.
Last season’s beaten finalists know they must score at least twice in order to reach the final of another continental showpiece, with two away goals for City doing Pochettino’s cause few favours. Neymar has already vowed to “die on the pitch” in pursuit of victory, with Alessandro Florenzi embracing that call to arms.
Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has been ruled out of Wednesday’s semi-final second leg away to Chelsea with a muscle injury.