Pep Guardiola’s teachers and students received Porto in the opening match of Group C Champions League when the sadness of last season’s defeat has not been completely erased.
Guardiola has led Man City to two consecutive Premier League titles in 2018 and 2019, among six other titles. But the Spaniard’s four years in England are still considered incomplete if they cannot win the Champions League.
Last season, Man City eliminated Real Madrid in the eighth round, but they suddenly fell before Lyon in the quarterfinals. That defeat led to criticism from Guardiola and sparked rumors of his departure. But once again, former Barca coach confirmed he would stay to help the Etihad Stadium team conquer Europe.
“I feel responsible for the defeat against Lyon. Until now, I still feel a responsibility to watch the game again. But we have to accept the reality. Man City is not bad, but not enough. good to go on. I don’t think we have a psychological problem. It is with desire and the team has not been immune to mistakes, “Guardiola said.
Man City experienced an unsatisfactory start in the Premier League 2020-2021. They lost to Leicester 2-5 and were held 1-1 by Leeds United. But over the weekend, Guardiola’s teachers and students defeated Arsenal 1-0 thanks to Raheem Sterling’s goal, thereby building up psychological momentum for this match.
Porto dominated the Portuguese Championship for the last two years, but they had a bad start to the season. Teachers and students Sergio Conceicao only won seven points after the first four rounds in the domestic league and are being left five points behind by rival Benfica. Over the weekend, Porto drew Sporting Lisbon 2-2. It was the second game in a row they didn’t win.
“I want to end Porto’s winless streak in England. We respect our opponents, respect what they’ve done over the years with Guardiola. But I don’t take statistics seriously. For me, talking too much. the past is meaningless, “Conceicao expressed his ambition to win three points on the opponent’s field.
Man City suffered because Kevin De Bruyne could not play due to injury. The Belgian is the best midfielder of the Champions League 2019-2020 and his presence is very important when Man City faces teams with solid defense like Porto. Gabriel Jesus’ absence may force Guardiola to use Sergio Aguero early, because the striker has just returned. Midfielder Ruben Dias – who moved from Benfica this summer – will reunite his familiar opponent.
Porto is likely to play with a 4-3-3 scheme, as in the Sporting draw. The fast-paced attacking trio of Luis Diaz, Moussa Marega and Manuel Corona is the basis for the visitors to counterattack. Goalkeeper Mouhamed Mbaye was the only absence from Porto, after Diaz and Mateus Uribe had recovered to play.
Man City met Porto twice in the 16th round of the Europa League 2011-2012. At that time, the English team won both matches, scoring a total of six goals and conceding only once. In the second leg in England, Man City crushed the opponent 4-0.