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Leagues: Champions League

Attack the best form of defence for City in Monaco – Guardiola


Monaco (AFP) – Monaco are “the best team in the world at scoring goals” in the eyes of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, so the only way to beat them is by taking them on at their own game, he says.

“I want to see a team from the first minute looking to win the game. After that, at this level everyone can beat you, but I don’t like my team to speculate,” Guardiola told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the Champions League last 16, second leg between the teams.

City take a 5-3 lead into Wednesday’s match at the Stade Louis II after winning a thrilling first leg last month, and many teams would be tempted to defend such an advantage in the return.

French league leaders Monaco have scored 123 goals in all competitions this season while City have looked defensively fragile throughout much of the campaign. But so have their opponents.

Guardiola added: “Of course we start game not with 0-0, but with 5-3. We know a 2-0, 3-1 or 4-2 (defeat) and we are out.

“We have to play the game, focus on what we have to do. It would be tiring for us to think about running the clock down, that would be a huge mistake, to think about what we have done (already).

“They are the best team in the world at scoring goals, they attack with five or six players, they are physically strong, fast in short spaces.

“When a team scores 123 goals it shows they can score in many different ways, so the best way (to handle them) is to score goals. Take the ball and score goals is the only way.

“If you think only about defending for 90 minutes because you won 5-3, you kill yourself. What we have to do is go to score goals.”

Sergio Aguero scored twice while Raheem Sterling, John Stones and Leroy Sane were all on target for City in a remarkable meeting at the Etihad Stadium, in which Monaco had led 2-1 and 3-2 before collapsing late on.

Radamel Falcao, who scored a brace, and teen sensation Kylian Mbappe were electrifying for Monaco but Guardiola said his team can go on to win the competition if they can repeat their first-leg performance.

“Yeah sure. Even when we won the competition in Barcelona, or got to the semi-finals at Bayern, we were never sure we were going to win it, but in that way we can win it,” said the Spaniard, the mastermind of Barca’s 2009 and 2011 triumphs.

With Bayern, he fell in three straight semi-finals in his three years in charge, while City reached the last four for the first time in their history last season, losing to Real Madrid.

“I am so satisfied already about my personal success,” said Guardiola when asked about his formidable record in the competition. “When you see the potential quarter-final rivals they are top, top clubs. I cannot answer if we will win the Champions League but getting to the quarter-finals would be a dream for me and the players.”

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