Pep Guardiola says he is expecting a difficult test against an aggressive Sevilla side as Manchester City begin their Champions League campaign on Tuesday.
City face the Spaniards this evening on matchday one of the Champions League’s group stage, with Sevilla regulars at this level. Julen Lopetegui’s briefly threatened a title challenge in Spain last season, but have began the new campaign poorly and are without a win in four league games.
However, Guardiola has told his players to be prepared for a tough test against a team with pedigree in continental competition.
“They won’t be concerned with just defending. We have to be prepared because they will be aggressive,” he told his pre-match press conference.
“This competition is played with a lot of enthusiasm. More so in a stadium like this one. We have to be prepared for that. We have to crank up the pace. There is a great emotional component here, much more than just tactics.”
Guardiola discussed the challenge of facing Sevilla and winning the Champions League, as City look to end their wait for elusive European honours this season.
He admits his team are ‘far away from Sevilla in Europe’ and insists his side must be at their best to earn a result against the six-time Europa League winners.
“Last season we fought to be here, we know how difficult it will be. Spanish teams dominate Europe, I’d love to have a story like Sevilla has, City are far away from Sevilla in Europe. Tomorrow don’t miss the spectacle in this stadium. We try and do a good game and try to do three points.”
Guardiola spoke on the fitness of his squad and confirmed both John Stones and Kyle Walker will miss the clash through injury.
“Injured, both are injured,” he said on the England duo.
“We are lucky the club give me Manuel Akanji otherwise we be in real trouble. The club moved quick to bring in another player in this positions. The history for John and Nathan (Ake) they aren’t quite reliable to play every week. It is what it is. Mainly because this incredible schedule for many years, the players cannot sustain it for a long time.”
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