‘There are no second chances’: Bullish Pep Guardiola urges his Manchester City side to seize a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity on their quest for Champions League glory ahead of the quarter-final against Lyon
- Manchester City face Lyon in the quarter-final of the Champions League
- Pep Guardiola has urged his side to seize a once in a lifetime opportunity
- He said his side have responded well since their FA Cup defeat by Arsenal
- City are trying to reach the semi-finals for the first time under the Catalan
Pep Guardiola urged his Manchester City stars to grasp a once in a lifetime opportunity as they restart a quest to make history in Europe.
City face Lyon in a one-legged Champions League quarter-final in Lisbon and their manager was bullish about his team’s chances.
Guardiola is demanding clear heads as they attempt to reach the last four for the first time during his tenure.
Pep Guardiola urged his Manchester City stars to grasp a once in a lifetime opportunity
‘This is an important moment for our careers, for our lives as professionals. It is a once in a lifetime and I think being together is exceptional,’ Guardiola said.
‘Now we have to show ourselves. I want to see my team be who they are, do everything with their souls, their minds, and after that the football will dictate whether we deserve it or not.
‘They can punish us. The pressure is always there. Anything can happen in one game. In this competition there are no favourites.’
Guardiola suggested that the mentality of the squad had improved following their shock 2-0 defeat by Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals last month.
The Catalan openly criticised their attitude in the immediate aftermath of elimination from that competition.
‘I’m incredibly proud of the way they have behaved over the last two or three weeks,’ he added. ‘I’d say since the lockdown but especially the last few weeks. They are incredibly focused.
‘We’re used to playing one game (domestically) and it’s a final. There are no second chances. In or out, you go back to Manchester or stay here in Lisbon.’
UEFA allocated City with the Portuguese national team’s plush training base, Cidade do Futebol, as their home for the mini-tournament. Guardiola believes the bio-secure bubble in which the team and backroom staff have remained in all week has strengthened bonds among the group.
‘We’ve worked and prepared well,’ Guardiola said. ‘We’ve eaten well, drunk good wine in the night. We’ve worked a lot, try to discover Lyon’s secrets.
‘We’ve not done anything special, just spend more time together – the backroom staff as well as the players. I think it’s good, really good. Hopefully we can stay here longer. People know I prefer to be at home but this is a special (situation).’
City are aware that defensive fragility has played a part during previous Champions League defeats over the last three years and Aymeric Laporte called on his team-mates to retain concentration.
‘I think we have to avoid the mistakes, to be focused. Lyon have very good, talented players,’ Laporte said. ‘We have a great squad and hopefully we can win this competition, but tomorrow we will have to fight.
‘We are prepared and will fight until the end. There are many tough teams and we have to be ready for the title.’