How Man City should line up vs Basel, Champions League
Pep Guardiola says Manchester City are “many years” away from being at the same level of former club Barcelona.
He won his first trophy as City boss in the Carabao Cup, and they are four wins away from the Premier League title.
City have one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals, holding a 4-0 advantage before Wednesday’s last-16 second leg at home to Basel.
“To think about joining these kinds of teams [like Barcelona], you have to be there a long time,” Guardiola said.
“We won one title but it is not good for us comparing with that team. They dominated the last decade – 15-20 years with different managers, different players. Every season they won a lot of things.”
During his time with Barcelona between 2008 and 2012, Guardiola won 14 trophies, including three La Liga titles and two Champions League successes.
City are still likely to be without midfielder Fernandinho and forward Raheem Sterling for the return leg against Swiss team Basel at Etihad Stadium.
The pair are only just back in training after hamstring injuries but could be back in contention for Monday’s Premier League trip to Stoke.
Fabian Delph could return at left-back against Basel, having served a three-game domestic suspension.
“We start again from zero. We have to be focused not to make a mistake – just be focused on what we have to do, offensively and defensively, to control the game and go through. That is the target,” Guardiola said.
“Champions League games are something special and you have to be focused. Of course, we are delighted with the result we have done [in the first leg] but in football, everything can happen.”
City have only progressed past the round of 16 once in their last six consecutive Champions League appearances, eventually losing to Real Madrid in the 2015-16 semi-finals.
- No team has ever progressed to the next round following a 4-0 home defeat in the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie.
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 12 Champions League games at Etihad Stadium, winning each of their last four, their longest run on home soil in the competition.
- Manchester City have never failed to score in their last 12 Champions League games, also their longest run in the competition.
- Basel have won their last two away games in the Champions League 2-0 – against CSKA Moscow and Benfica – however, they have lost their two games on the road in the knockout stages of the competition by a combined score of 11-0.
- Manchester City have scored six goals from corners in this season’s Champions League, which is 33% of their total goals, more than any other team.
- Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has scored two goals and assisted two more in his last four Champions League games.
- City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne has delivered four assists in his last six Champions League games after registering only one in his previous 23 games in the competition.
- Basel forward Dimitri Oberlin has scored in each of his last two Champions League away games against CSKA Moscow and Benfica.
- Pep Guardiola has won the Champions League on two occasions as a manager with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011. A third trophy would equal Carlo Ancelotti and Bob Paisley’s record. He has also reached the semi-finals in seven of his eight previous seasons as manager but has not made the final since 2011.