Pep Guardiola is hoping Manchester City’s clash with Real Madrid is ‘fair for both sides’ as the club seek a change in luck in the Champions League this season.
The Premier League champions make the daunting trip to face the 13-time winners in the last-16 at the Bernabeu tonight, seeking to secure a positive first leg result as they bid to reach the quarter-finals for a third successive season.
Guardiola’s reign at the Etihad is yet to deliver the maiden Champions League title the club’s owners crave, though the Spaniard believes his side have been unfortunate with several decisions during last eight exits to Liverpool and Tottenham in recent years.
The City boss was left frustrated after being denied a penalty in the first leg against Liverpool two seasons ago, whilst he was sent off in the return clash after voicing his frustrations at Leroy Sane’s goal being ruled out for an offside.
The club were similarly unfortunate last season during a pulsating two-legged tie with Tottenham, Sergio Aguero missing a penalty in the first leg before Fernando Llorente’s goal for Spurs in their second clash appeared to brush his hand as he put the north London side through to the last four.
Guardiola admits any side with aspirations of lifting the trophy must be fortunate during their path to the final, and is hopeful the club’s clash with Real Madrid can be a ‘fair’ contest for both sides.
“You have to be many things and you have to be lucky,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “In the knockout stages, the decisions in certain points are important, although we cannot control that.
“Last season and the previous ones – when we play in Liverpool and in the second game [against them], there were decisions … but you have to overcome.
“Many things happen but it’s football. I would like it to be more fair and hopefully it can be fair for both sides. I don’t like to win with the wrong decisions.”