Sunday 25 August 2019

Pep Guardiola calls on Manchester City fans to find their voice

City have vital games in the league coming up against Tottenham and Manchester United.

Pep Guardiola believes the role of the fans is crucial as Manchester City face Tottenham (Martin Rickett/PA)
Pep Guardiola believes the role of the fans is crucial as Manchester City face Tottenham (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Pep Guardiola has called on fans to find their voice at the start of a critical week in Manchester City’s quadruple challenge.

The City boss wants the Etihad Stadium to be in full voice as they bid to overturn a 1-0 deficit in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Tottenham on Wednesday night.

“At this stage, without supporters, we cannot go through,” said Guardiola. “I’m expecting.

“I’m really curious how our fans are going to react, really curious.

“I want to see my fans, our fans, that they really want the semi-finals. I want to see that.”

With the match quickly followed by another vital clash with Spurs – and then a derby trip to Manchester United – in the Premier League, Guardiola recognises the biggest prizes are on the line in the coming eight days.

He said: “If we don’t win theses games we’ll be out of two competitions,” said Guardiola. “They are absolute finals for us, I’ve had that feeling from weeks ago.”

Opposite number Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, hopes his Spurs players can take inspiration from the words of his former team-mate Ronaldinho.

Brazil World Cup-winner Ronaldinho, who won the Champions League with Barcelona in 2006, has tipped the London side to win Europe’s top club prize.

When told of that prediction, Pochettino said at his pre-match press conference: “Wow. He knows a lot about football and I am going to respect him.

“He was a great team-mate when we played together in PSG. We spent amazing times together on the pitch, training ground.

“Why not? In football, all can happen. Like in life, you must believe and have trust in yourself and your ability and quality.

“It is good that people like Ronaldinho believe you have the quality to win. It is good for our players to listen to that because if Ronaldinho says that it increases our belief.

“Maybe we will be able to beat an amazing team like Manchester City.”

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Son Heung-min scored the winner in Spurs’ first-leg victory (Adam Davy/PA)

Yet even with an advantage, Pochettino recognises the challenge is a daunting one.

“It is going to be tough for us,” he said. “Manchester City for me are one of the best teams in the world and a clear favourite to win the Premier League and to win the Champions League.

“For us to beat them in the first leg was an amazing result but we know very well the tie is still open.”

Spurs are without talisman Harry Kane and midfielder Harry Winks but Dele Alli could play in a cast protecting his broken hand and Erik Lamela has recovered from a hamstring injury. City are waiting on midfielder Fernandinho, who has been training at “low intensity” since missing Sunday’s win at Crystal Palace.

PA Media

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