Paris - Stung by a chastening 4-0 defeat at the Camp Nou two
weeks ago, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola makes a second attempt to
outwit his former club Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Guardiola's men were undone by the second-half dismissal of
goalkeeper Claudio Bravo on October 19, when Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick to
propel his side five points clear of City at the Group C summit.
Another defeat would give Borussia Moenchengladbach and
Celtic -- who meet in Germany -- an opportunity to overtake City and Guardiola
knows his side face a major test of their nerve at the Etihad Stadium.
"We have to be focused for 90 minutes, knowing they are
going to provoke our mistakes because of the quality they have," said
Guardiola, who led Barcelona to European glory in 2009 and 2011.
"Barcelona provoke your mistakes. But we had a few
chances and have to keep going in that sense and try to finish better than we
did in Barcelona.
"We will try. We will try it again. I've never thought
we could not win. I have never entered a match thinking we can't win.
"We have to play almost perfectly to win, but if not we
congratulate them and set our minds on the game against Celtic and in
Moenchengladbach in a few weeks."
Barcelona are aiming for a sixth successive victory over
City, who they eliminated from the Champions League in both 2013-14 and
Luis Enrique's side, European champions for a fifth time in
2015, require just a point to reach the last 16 and will be assured of first
place if they win and Gladbach do not prevail at home to Celtic.
"I think it's a great opportunity for us to
qualify," said the Barcelona coach.
"Obviously it won't be easy. We want to be first in the
group. We will have to play very well, as we did in Camp Nou, with and without
Barca are currently on a four-game winning streak, but they
arrived in Manchester on Monday with a depleted squad.
With Gerard Pique (ankle) and Jordi Alba (hamstring) absent,
as well as Aleix Vidal (thigh), they are missing two first-choice defenders,
while captain Andres Iniesta (knee) is also out and Jeremy Mathieu is
Celtic have just one point and will be eliminated if they
lose and City avoid defeat, but manager Brendan Rodgers is looking at the
When asked if he felt the Scottish champions could be a
last-16 side in the next couple of years, the former Liverpool boss replied:
"I would hope so yes. That's the process we're beginning.
"This is what this experience of this competition has
given us - the chance to build towards that."
Also read: Guardiola wants Aguero to stay at City
- Last 16 in sight -
Arsenal could clinch qualification for the knockout stage
yet again with a win when they take on Ludogorets in Bulgaria, provided Paris
Saint-Germain avoid defeat in Basel. PSG are also in a position to seal their
place in the last 16 for the fifth straight campaign.
Olivier Giroud is hoping to finally get a start for the
Gunners as they aim to stay on track to finish first in Group A ahead of the
derby against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Atletico Madrid are one of only three teams to have maximum
points coming into matchday four and last season's runners-up can wrap up their
last-16 spot with two games to spare when they host Champions League debutants
Bayern Munich can also clinch qualification for the last 16
-- for the 14th season in a row -- as they visit PSV Eindhoven in the other
Group D game.
In Group B, Dynamo Kiev visit Benfica knowing they could be
condemned to an early exit if they lose and results elsewhere go against them.
The meeting of Besiktas and Napoli in Istanbul gets the
action underway at 1745 GMT with the rest of the games kicking-off at 1945 GMT.For
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