Guardiola: I hope Mbappe is fit

Guardiola: I hope Mbappe is fit

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola predicted Kylian Mbappe would start for Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League semi-final second leg encounter.

Mbappe missed PSG’s game at the weekend with a calf injury and that has put his involvement in the return leg at the Etihad in doubt, but Guardiola thinks the French international striker will play.

Speaking in a press conference ahead of the game, Guardiola said of Mbappe featuring: “I’m looking forward to it. He’s going to play. I’m looking forward to him playing. For the football, for the game itself, hopefully he can play.”

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Guardiola then said he believed Mbappe and Brazilian striker Neymar posed a threat in the next leg, one he was focused on negating.

Guardiola explained: “They played really well, the first half was exceptional. Mbappe was dangerous, in the second half we were better. They judged Mbappe and Neymar because they lost, if they won they play good.”

“I think they played good. What’s the best way for them to not play good? That’s what we try to do tomorrow,” he closed.

More generally, the Spaniard claimed that the second legs of semi-finals are the most difficult.

“From my experience the semi-finals are always difficult,” he said.

You play with the result of the first leg, you play with your mind on the final and sometimes you forget what you have to do – win the game you are playing.

“The semi-final second leg is always the difficult one – always has been like this. Final is completely different.”

Guardiola hoped his side would get through, but acknowledged the club are yet to reach a European final with him as manager.

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“The nice part of our jobs is it’s incredibly unpredictable. It was disappointing, but life always gives you another opportunity, another challenge,” he said.

“I would love to say, ‘yes, we learned from that’, but maybe tomorrow we play a bad game. I don’t think it, but we could play a bad game and be out of the final.

“But what I think right now is we’re going to do an incredible game and we’re going to reach the final. If the other ones are better, I congratulate the opponent. But I have the feeling we’re going to do well.”

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