Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is aware of the threat his side face against Monaco in the Champions League on Tuesday but wants his players to embrace the pressures of Europe’s elite competition.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has won the tournament twice before, both with Barcelona, and hasn’t failed to reach the semi-finals in seven attempts.
“To be here is not easy. I want to convince the players to enjoy that moment. It is beautiful”, he said in Monday’s press conference, according to BBC Sport.
This season is only the fourth time City have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League. They reached the semi-finals last season but were beaten by eventual winners Real Madrid 1-0 over two legs.
Guardiola is also aware that his side are strong favourites against Monaco, who are currently top of Ligue 1 in France.
“People can think Manchester City have to be here but a lot of big clubs are not here. All of Europe will watch us, to analyse us, to kill us if we don’t win or say how good we are if we do.”
Although City are expected to come out on top, they haven’t had it easy so far this season. After a tough winter period, they are getting back on track domestically. The Citizens are now second in the Premier League, eight points behind leaders Chelsea.
The Champions League may be coming at a perfect time for the English side, who are at home in the first leg. Monaco have home advantage in the second, after topping Group E ahead of Bayer Leverkusen. City finished second in Group C behind Barcelona.
One man that City will have to do without on Tuesday is Vincent Kompany. He remains sidelined after picking up a knock in training before their FA Cup game against Huddersfield last Saturday.
Guardiola though expects him to return soon, according to Sky Sports. It will likely be before the fifth round replay at home to the Championship side after a 0-0 draw.
“Vincent is not ready for tomorrow. I think it won’t be longer. Hopefully, for the Huddersfield game he will be ready.”