Saturday 18 November 2017

Pep plans to 'attack as much as possible' as it's 'only way' to beat Monaco

Man City boss Pep Guardiola. Photo: PA
Man City boss Pep Guardiola. Photo: PA

James Ducker

Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players they will be "killed" if they seek to defend their lead against a Monaco side who are "the best in the world at scoring goals" and that going for broke is the only way his team can win the Champions League this season.

The City manager believes his team will be making a "huge mistake" if they set out to preserve their two-goal advantage against the French league leaders as they take a 5-3 lead into the second leg of their round-of-16 tie at the Stade Louis II tonight.

Guardiola reiterated his belief that his 100th game in European competition as a manager will end in elimination if City fail to score against a side who have plundered 123 goals in all competitions this season.

"When one team scores 123 goals, it means they can score in many, many, many ways, so the best way [to counter that] is to score goals," he said. "Take the ball and attack as much as possible is the only way I know to beat this type of team. If one team scores 123 goals and you are thinking about only defending for 90 minutes because we won one game 5-3, you kill yourself.

"Maybe it will happen because we won't be able to attack or won't be able to control their fantastic attack. That can happen but the idea is to try to play our way. You have to go to score goals.

"It will be a huge mistake for our side to think about what we've done and forget what we have to do. They're the best team in the world at scoring goals, they attack not with four or five but six guys."

Asked if City had the potential to win the Champions League, Guardiola said: "I don't know. I would like to say yes, I trust the players a lot, I am so comfortable and I will not forget how they take care of me and give me everything to make this club better, but I don't know. I know how complicated the competition is. If you lose five minutes in the concentration you are out."

Doubt

Radamel Falcao remains a doubt for Monaco. The prolific Colombian, who scored twice in the first leg, suffered a hip injury in the latter stages of last Saturday's Ligue 1 victory over Bordeaux.

Falcao has shown signs of improvement and seemed to play a full part in training yesterday but a final decision on the 31-year-old's involvement is still to be made.

Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said: "He is feeling better now but we are not sure yet. We have to wait until tomorrow to take a decision."

Monaco boast a side laden with attacking talent but Jardim needs all the firepower he can muster against a City side similarly committed to pressing forward.

Jardim said: "I am sure the two teams will respect their DNA because it is difficult to change the mentality of a team before a game. I think the two teams will attack and we can expect a lot of goals.

"We know we have to score at least two more but I think the individual quality of the City players is so dangerous they can score at any moment. So, to qualify I think we will need to score at least three goals."

Monaco are enjoying a fantastic season. Unbeaten domestically since mid-December, they top Ligue 1 after 29 games and are still involved in two French cup competitions.

Their Champions League challenge began in the third qualifying round - a round before City - last July.

Jardim said: "A Champions League game is very important - players always give their all and won't be tired. Players forget tiredness. We are the team that has played the most games in Europe but we will give our best again."

Portuguese boss Jardim, who has overseen Monaco's revival since taking charge in 2014, relishes such clashes the most.

He said: "Before a game like this I have to be happy and enjoy the moment. I am afraid when I am the favourite and play against lesser teams. Tomorrow will be a big game and we have to enjoy it. I think all football fans will enjoy this game." © Daily Telegraph, London.

Monaco v Manchester City

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