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Guardiola Backs Manchester City To Win Champions League

Guardiola Backs Manchester City To Win Champions League

Pep Guardiola said Manchester City has what it takes to win this season’s UEFA Champions League describing their 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in Friday as a major step for his team on the European stage.

City progressed into the last eight in Lisbon, where they will play Lyon next Saturday, with a commanding display against Madrid.

Raheem Sterling, with his 100th goal for City, and Gabriel Jesus capitalised on Raphael Varane’s errors to guide Guardiola’s side into the last eight on a 4-2 aggregate win.

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Despite rejecting suggestions his team could be considered favourites to win the competition this season, Guardiola admitted the win was “a sign” City had the potential to triumph in Portugal.

“It is important. For Real Madrid to beat a big team in the last 16 is normal. For us, if we are going to be champion we have to beat these teams.

This is important for our season and for our future. It is similar to when we beat Barcelona in the knockout stage. We don’t have a lot of presence in Europe so it is so important for the club, for all the workers at the club and for our supporters.

“The big clubs lift the titles. Real Madrid reached the final three times in a row and this shows we can do it, but we have to see how we recover. Last season we played Lyon twice and we could not beat them. We have to be calm.”

Jesus made one goal and scored the second with his relentless harrying of Varane and his manager claimed it was a performance that showed the Brazilian forward is coming of age.

Guardiola added: “The big players have to show on the biggest stages in the biggest games and he showed it against the kings of this competition. It was a big step forward for him to show: ‘Here I am, I can win games by myself,’ but the most important thing was we didn’t make mistakes behind. We have suffered for that in this competition before. We were incredibly stable behind.”

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