Pep Guardiola: ‘Anything can happen’ as Manchester City prepare to host FC Copenhagen

As Manchester City prepare to welcome FC Copenhagen to Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League round-of-sixteen tie, Cityzens boss Pep Guardiola told reporters in his pre-match press conference that he has a lot of respect for the visitors.

Despite his strong-sided squad being in great form at the moment, Guardiola does not dismiss the potential challenges the opposition could bring to the table. 

‘I have a lot of respect for Copenhagen for the way they defend, they can shape for different systems,’ he told reporters.

‘They have a strong link of strikers; they have a pace in transitions. But I especially like the way they defend; they make very good movements and play compact.’

‘Champions League is Champions League, and to try and be in the best eight teams in Europe, that is our target,’ Guardiola said with confidence. 

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With the Cityzens on the right path to forcing a repeat of last season’s success, and with a treble still on the cards as a potential achievement this campaign, the Manchester City manager made reporters aware that his focus remains solely on Wednesday’s game.

‘The only target is to try and qualify tomorrow for the quarterfinals, we are too far away to be talking about this [the treble]. We didn’t mention it last season until we won the FA Cup Final against Manchester United.’

‘We are only at the beginning of March, so the only focus is tomorrow against Copenhagen, that has been my focus since yesterday afternoon.’

‘We are here, we must try and win games, and tomorrow we have the chance to [reach] the quarterfinals again and that is the target,’ Guardiola insisted. 

‘It is so important to be focused, in football anything can happen – you have to be aware of that and do a good performance to qualify.’

However, Guardiola remains cautious despite his Manchester City finding themselves 3-1 up on aggregate after an impressive first-leg victory at Parken Stadium last month. 

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‘Of course, the business is to qualify for the next round. But in football, anything can happen.’

‘So, we need to prepare well, read what they have done and what they can do. We need to perform and do our best,’ he explained.

Having been involved in the UEFA Champions League as a manager for nearly fifteen years, Guardiola believes that the competition is only getting more difficult. 

‘It’s getting tougher. The teams are better, the managers are better. Everything is so much more difficult, but at the end the better teams always go through.’

‘Every title you win is difficult,’ he said assertively. 

‘It’s not taken for granted, it’s not because it is easy. Every step you do is so complicated, for many reasons – you must be good in the right moment, mentally, physically, and the skills and the game plan.’

‘Winning titles is so hard, and there is so much work behind it,’ he concluded. His Manchester City side will welcome FC Copenhagen to Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening, with kickoff scheduled for 20:00 GMT. The match will be broadcast live within the UK on TNT Sports.