Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola isn’t counting any chickens when it comes to his group stage matches, starting with Tuesday’s match in Rotterdam against Feyenoord.
Quizzed about the level of competition coming from the Eredivisie side, Guardiola mentioned Feyenoord having more European crowns than Man City.
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“History counts, definitely,” he said. “I grew up with the Holland culture about the way they play. I was a lucky guy to be a football player like my idol Johan Cruyff. I had a lot of Holland players in my team. I know exactly how they play.”
Guardiola says City is not thinking about the long-term right now, because of how many obstacles stand in the way of making it to the knockout rounds. City will face Feyenoord, Napoli, and Shakhtar Donetsk home and away. It’s not a group of death, but there isn’t an easy match in the bunch.
“It depends on our level. I know from my experience in Barcelona and Bayern Munich how difficult it is. Finals away are so, so tough. Doesn’t matter if we’re playing famous teams or lower teams. When you arrive in the last stages, you say, ‘The dream is there, it’s close.’ Now it’s still far away.”
“We have to show it. Champions League is so demanding. The teams are so physical. Their best performance is always in the Champions League. If we are not in our top level, we cannot compete.”