Pep Guardiola praised the competition in Manchester City’s squad after Leroy Sane stepped into the starting XI and tore through Schalke in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Germany international Sane starred in a 7-0 thrashing of his former club as City cruised into the Champions League quarter-finals thanks to a 10-2 aggregate triumph in a one-sided last-16 tie.
The 23-year-old scored one and set up three others to justify his selection ahead of Riyad Mahrez, one of three changes made following the weekend Premier League defeat of Watford.
Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany all missed the match but their absences proved no impediment for the Premier League leaders, who condemned Schalke to the heaviest Champions League loss suffered by a German side.
“They know they have to compete with each other,” City manager Guardiola told BT Sport.
“Everybody wants to play and everybody has to play at a good level. Today everybody tried to play, to be involved and keep going.
“In the last game Riyad [Mahrez] was one of the best players and today Leroy played at a good level.
“We are happy to achieve the quarter-finals. Hopefully we can achieve one step forward.”
8 – Manchester City’s 10-2 aggregate win over Schalke is the biggest ever by an English side in a Champions League knockout tie. Cruise. pic.twitter.com/NFfg3MfTmD
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 12, 2019
City have won 10 straight matches in all competitions since the start of February and remain in the hunt for four major trophies.
However, Guardiola warned it is imperative that the squad’s sidelined stars make quick recoveries in order to maintain an imperious run of form.
“At the moment we have a lot of injured players,” he said. “We want to continue this run, especially in April, but we need players to come back fit or it won’t be possible.”
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