Pep plays down City's Champions League hopes AGAIN ahead of PSG semi

Not AGAIN, Pep?! Guardiola plays down Man City’s Champions League hopes as he says the Premier League is ‘more important’, and his competition favourites ‘aren’t in the elite’ while hailing semi-final rivals PSG

  • Manchester City travel to Paris to face PSG in the Champions League semi-final 
  • It is the first time Pep Guardiola has managed to take the club to the latter stage 
  • Guardiola was upbeat on Tuesday and said the Premier League is most important
  • The Spanish coach was also keen to stress how City are not among the elite 

Pep Guardiola has appeared to once again downplay the importance of the Champions League to Manchester City, on the eve of taking his side to Paris for a semi-final showdown against last season’s finalists PSG.

It is the first time City have reached the last four of the competition under Guardiola, having failed to progress the team past the quarter-final stage during his five years in charge. 

The Spaniard cut a relaxed figure during his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, insisting he was simply urging his players to enjoy the trip to the French capital and ‘be ourselves.’

Pep Guardiola outlined his view that the Premier League is still the most important for Man City

City must overcome a PSG side boasting Neymar and Kylian Mbappe to reach their first final

Yet, perhaps more alarmingly for City fans, Guardiola struck a nonchalant tone regarding the pressures of the Champions League and admitted he sees the Premier League as most important.

Guardiola said: ‘We make this position [semi-final] now and we are lucky to live right now where we are, now I am very happy to travel with this club to Paris with the tactic to be ourselves and win the games.

‘And then to Crystal Palace to win one of the two games we need to win the Premier League, the most important one. 

Guardiola’s words may come as a concern to City fans, who are desperate for European glory

‘I say the champions league is nice, but the Premier League is the important one.’

In a move that may raise many an eyebrow, Guardiola also pointed out how he does not see City among the elite in the Champions League, given the club’s lack of experience in the latter stages.

City have been an ever-present in Europe’s leading cup competition since the Sheikh Mansour era began, but are yet to have had the chance to scoop the main prize.

Guardiola added: ‘Of course we are not elite in this comp, that’s for sure, but we want to be there. 

‘When our owners took over years ago we makes steps and steps to improve, first in England. Many, many players, managers and backroom staff have come and gone.’

Guardiola pointed to City being close to winning the league despite the press conference centering around the Champions League and the looming semi-final clash

Guardiola went on to confirm that his squad had reported a clean bill of health prior to Wednesday crunch showdown, and that City must revel in their ‘incredible’ chance.

‘Everyone is fit and ready, and happy I think,’ he added.

‘All of us is grateful to give ourselves this opportunity to be there. For Barca and Madrid it is a normality to play in this stage of the competition for us it is something new. It is incredible to have this chance.’

Last season City found themselves humiliated on the big stage, after crashing out of the competition at the hands of Ligue 1 side Lyon.

Reflecting back on the pain of last season, Guardiola noted that City must retain command of the ball if they are to avoid the same thing happening with PSG.

Neymar is searching for redemption after narrowly losing last season’s final to Bayern Munich

‘The balance is to have the ball. if you have the ball then the balance is already there,’ Guardiola said.

‘We are going to concede counter attacks, with the players they have. they [PSG] have a lot of weapons. they are used in the French league to playing teams who sit back. 

‘The only way to minimize them is to impose your game. Lyon, they beat us in the counter attack – we try to impose our game but sometimes it is not possible.’

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