‘Nearly impossible’ for Man City to repeat Madrid thrashing, says Guardiola

Manchester City's coach Pep Guardiola said his team would find it "nearly impossible" to thrash Madrid again © JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

Madrid (AFP):– Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola said Monday it will be “nearly impossible” to repeat their thrashing of Real Madrid last season in their Champions League quarter-final duel.

City hammered record 14-time winners Madrid 5-1 on aggregate in last season’s semi-finals on the way to the trophy but Guardiola said ahead of Tuesday’s first-leg clash at the Santiago Bernabeu he could not expect his team to repeat the feat.

“To beat Real Madrid two times in the same way is almost impossible,” Guardiola told a news conference.

“To beat them once is difficult, imagine twice in a row.”

Guardiola said Madrid, led by England international Jude Bellingham, are a different proposition to last season.

“We have new players, they have new players, they are completely different games,” said the former Barcelona coach.

“We have the second leg at home, we feel strong, we are incredibly confident (there)… here the games are long for many reasons, we expect different games in the same game.

“They can drop and defend in a low block, everyone knows the strength they have in transitions, with Rodrygo, Bellingham, and Vinicius, they have incredible pace.

“We have to try and hurt them, punish them, let them know we are here, to score goals.”

Guardiola said defender Josko Gvardiol had come with the squad to the Spanish capital but was “a doubt” for the clash, while injured duo Kyle Walker and Nathan Ake did not travel.

“Injuries are part of a long season, unfortunately we had a lot… we have to try and find a solution and get a good result for the second leg,” said Guardiola.

City midfielder Rodri said winning the Champions League last season could make the team calmer on a high-tension European night.

“It gives you a bit more composure on the pitch, you learn from the past, from when we lose and when we win,” he said.

While City thrashed Madrid last season, the year before Los Blancos scored two late goals to force extra-time in the semi-finals when it seemed Guardiola’s side had won — Madrid went on to lift the trophy.

“Having both experiences overall, we are a completely more mature team than the first time we faced them,” added Rodri.

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