Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes the Champions League game against Barcelona is a ‘final’ for his players.
The Blues had goalkeeper Claudio Bravo dismissed five minutes after half-time in the 4-0 defeat against the Catalans two weeks ago, a decision that effectively sealed the game, but Guardiola remains positive ahead of the clash at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.
“This is an important game that for us it is a final and we’ll have to play it that way, like a final, because we have just three group games left,” the Spaniard told reporters.
“But I’ve never thought we can’t win a football match and I’ll never start to think that way, even though we lost 4-0.
“We have to learn from that. When you lose at that level the only thing you can do is learn, and we learned how well we could compete for long passages.
“We also learned how dangerous they are in possession, but especially when they don’t have the ball. They defend high and are so compact.
“Every Coach has his plans on how to beat opponents. We know them and they know us, but football is sometimes unpredictable and the quality of players can make a difference.
“We know it is going to be difficult and they are difficult opponents, so we are aware we need to play an almost perfect game to win.
“We dropped two points in Glasgow and need to recover that in these next games. However, we’ll give it a go. If not we’ll congratulate them on the way they played and set our minds on the game in Monchengladbach,” said Guardiola, who was then asked if he is happy with his team.
“In three months it’s impossible to get to a level in any place in the world. I’d love to be closer but we need time.
“I’d like my players to show courage and put everything into the game with a willingness to play well.
“We played well in the first half at the Camp Nou but Barca’s two wide players are almost unstoppable,” he insisted.