Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City’s presence in the Champions League semi-finals marks another important step in the club’s development.
The Blues have matched their best ever season in Europe’s premier competition. Back in the 2015/16 season, they were edged out 1-0 by Real Madrid in the last four. This time around, PSG stand in their way and Guardiola will be hoping City go one step further.
Guardiola said: “It is just the second time. We are not in the elite of this competition but we want to be there, that is for sure.”
Guardiola has a fully-fit squad for the encounter in the French capital and insists his side are ready for the challenge.
“Everyone is fit and ready – and happy, all the players,” he stated. “We are grateful to have this opportunity. For us, it is something new and we are incredibly grateful to live it. It is so nice to go to Paris for all of us.”
Guardiola has stressed the importance of being relaxed ahead of the game and enjoying being involved in such an occasion.
He said: “Enjoy the travel, the coffee in the airport, the hotel, watching the other semi-final, the walk, the training.
“We’re privileged to be one of the best four teams in Europe this season. It has to be enjoyed.”
Forward Riyad Mahrez says there is a strong determination to succeed within the squad following last season’s disappointment.
City were one of the tournament favourites last year but crashed out to Lyon in the quarter-finals.
Mahrez said: “It was the biggest disappointment of my career (but) it helped us a lot this season. This season we were so determined to go through.”
Guardiola hopes to silence Neymar, Mbappe
He admits planning of ways to keep them quiet is enough to keep a man awake. However, he joked: “I slept well when I didn’t think of this! They are incredible, top players.
“We are going to try to stop them. We will train together, play good football, defend well as a team and try to score goals.”
Guardiola expects PSG to make life difficult for City.
He said: “We are not good in our defensive departments. We are not the best team. We are good with the ball.
“Our strong point defensively is because 11 players run a lot. Tomorrow, unfortunately, we will have to run more and more because PSG are so strong.”