Pep Guardiola says the football world will “kill” Manchester City if they fail to impress in Tuesday’s Champions League round-of-16 first-leg tie against Monaco.
The former Barcelona and Bayern manager has never failed to reach the semifinal stag of Europe’s top club competition, with his teams lifting the trophy on two occasions.
However, City were held to a scoreless draw with Championship side Huddersfield Town on Saturday and must face the free-scoring Ligue 1 leaders without 19-year-old sensation Gabriel Jesus, who broke a bone in his foot against Bournemouth last week.
And Guardiola insists the world will be watching.
“All of Europe is going to watch us, to analyse us, to kill us if we don’t win, to say how good we are when we win and that experience is beautiful to me,” said Guardiola.
“It is not easy to be here. I said many times, in the Champions League the recent history is quite good but Manchester City were not there for a long time. I want the players to enjoy this moment — because it’s beautiful.
“People can think, ‘OK, it’s Man City, it’s English football, the most prestigious football, the most media, the most advertising, and you have to be here.’ But a lot of clubs, big clubs, are not here. We have to see that we are lucky guys.
“I always played this competition this way, even at Barcelona and Bayern where they had more experience of the competition. I still thought ‘Wow.'”
Like City, Monaco don’t have a rich history of success in the competition. However, manager Leonardo Jardim has built one of the best sides in all of Europe this season, with only Barcelona scoring more goals in the continents’ top five leagues — a fact not lost on the former Spain international.
“It is one of the most successful teams in Europe in terms of scoring goals so it is a tough draw,” Guardiola said. “As a spectator, it is so nice to see them. I am really impressed how good they are, physically strong, the full-backs play like wingers, the wingers play like attacking midfielders.
“The two strikers are fighters and their strikers [Radamel] Falcao and [Valere] Germain — they are killers in the box. Both holding midfielders — [Bernardo] Silva and [Tiemoue] Bakayoko — they are intelligent, physically strong and they arrive to the box. They are a complete team.
“They don’t need too many chances. Germain has a goal, Falcao has a goal, Bernardo, [Thomas] Lemar. The first goal against Tottenham [in the group stage] is a cross from a full-back and a header from a full-back. They attack with a lot of people.”