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Manchester City Boss Pep Guardiola Stresses Importance Of Champions League

Pep Guardiola; Machester City
Posted: Aug 16, 2016 at 7:59 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Pep Guardiola is hoping to lead Manchester City on a long run in the “beautiful” Champions League.

City begin their latest challenge in Europe’s elite competition, in which they reached the semi-finals last season, as they take on Steaua Bucharest in the first leg of a play-off tie in Romania on Tuesday.

It is City’s first European game under Guardiola, who won the Champions League twice during his time at Barcelona.

The Spaniard said: “I enjoy my job preparing the games, seeing what is going to happen and anticipating what the players are going to find during the game, and trying to find solutions. That is my job.

“I saw enough games about Steaua. I have a lot of respect about how they play and we are going to try to score goals because in the Champions League scoring goals away is so, so important. But you know you have one more game next week in Manchester.

“Of course it is also convincing the players how important it is to play in the Champions League, how beautiful it is to play during the season in Europe. We are going to try to do that.”

City will be without Yaya Toure after the Ivory Coast midfielder was not included in the travelling squad.

It will be the second successive game the 33-year-old has missed after Guardiola omitted him from his matchday squad altogether for Saturday’s win over Sunderland.

It also remains to be seen whether Joe Hart is restored in goal after Pep Guardiola preferred Willy Caballero for the Premier League opener.

There has been speculation over the future of both players and Guardiola has admitted he did not feel Toure could deliver the intensity required.

Guardiola, Toure’s manager at Barcelona when he was sold to City in 2010, said: “He is a player of us and he is training amazing, but I was not sure if he was going to play, and so I prefer it if he stays there training good in Manchester.

“We travelled with two young guys and for the selection I prefer it to be the young guys than Yaya Toure.

“I prefer it if he stays there training and focuses on the next game. I have a lot of respect of him, for his career and quality, but for the first days – against Sunderland – we were looking for a more intensive game. That is why he didn’t play, the only reason why.”

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola would not comment on reports linking City with Barcelona’s second-choice keeper Claudio Bravo, but praised the attitude of Hart.

He said: “Since I am manager of Manchester City, from the time we were together with Joe, it was perfect – his behaviour, his training sessions, on the pitch, off the pitch. He is a big professional.”