After being handed a Champions League semi-final tie against Real Madrid, Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain is confident his club can upset the odds.
City progressed to the last four of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time with a 3-2 aggregate win over Paris Saint-Germain, while Madrid’s comeback against Wolfsburg saw them reach the semis for the sixth year in a row.
Against a firmly established European superpower, Begiristain knows City have their work cut out against the 10-time champions, but is optimistic they can prevail over two legs.
“We’re delighted to be in the semis and to keep dreaming,” he said. “It was difficult to make this point, and it will be difficult versus Madrid too.
“It’s a big tie versus a rival who has won the trophy most times and just showed that at Bernabeu they can be unstoppable.
“Madrid play open, that can generate so much it can scare you. But the City coaches and players will also know how to do them damage.
“The objective is to be solid, as we have been versus [Dynamo] Kiev and PSG. Then we can play football and make chances and we can eliminate anyone.
“The difficulty is the return at the Bernabeu, with all the history, in how they can generate a lot of football in a short time.
“Madrid are the favourite – they have been to 26 semis, six in a row. But we see ourselves capable of doing it.”
Friday’s draw in Nyon meant Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola avoided facing his future employers until a potential final showdown, and Begiristain knows the Spaniard would have remained fully focused regardless of the opposition.
“Pep will just have to concentrate on Bayern for now,” he said.