Pep Guardiola says Manchester City cannot be “tired” as they continue to compete on multiple fronts for silverware, with the prizes too big for them to falter in the final weeks.
The Premier League champions travel to face Atletico Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final, with Kevin De Bruyne’s goal having given them a 1-0 aggregate lead.
It is a match that comes sandwiched between two encounters with domestic rivals Liverpool.
The Premier League title challengers played out a thrilling 2-2 draw on Sunday and will meet in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley on Saturday.
That hectic schedule is more of a badge of honour for Guardiola however, who explained that his side will not be sluggish when there are a trio of trophies at stake in the final few months of the campaign.
“We are close to the end of the season, where you have to be grateful to be here,” he told his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
“I would love to have more time, but in that moment, you are not tired. When you are so close to reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, or the FA Cup, you are not tired.”
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Atleti failed to attempt a shot in the first leg. Since 2003-04, when Opta began collecting such data, the fewest shots recorded by a team across two legs of a Champions League knockout tie is four, by Shakhtar Donetsk against Bayern Munich in 2014-15.
However, Guardiola knows his side will likely need to remain on the offensive and expects to face a different proposition to the defensively taut team that visited the Etihad Stadium last week.
“It will be slightly different,” he added. “They play at home, and they create momentum.
“With the passion [that] all the fans [and] all the history that they have, there will be moments they will be aggressive and create problems.”
Guardiola has faced Atleti away from home on six previous occasions as a manager (W3 L3), with the most recent of those being a 0-1 defeat in the Champions League while in charge of Bayern Munich in 2015-16.
It will be City’s 100th game in the Champions League – they have won 55 of their first 99, which is already the most by an English side through a century of games in the competition. Overall, only Real Madrid have won more of their first 100 games in the competition (57).
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