Daily Archives: March 7, 2018

Pep Guardiola: Man City needs decade of dominance to catch up to Barca

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Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City have to dominate for at least a decade to be considered at the level of FC Barcelona.

City host Basel in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg holding a 4-0 advantage, but despite their dominating performance throughout this season Guardiola is adamant they remain below the quality of FC Barcelona

“They have won a lot in the past. We are new — we’ve won one title [the League Cup] but it is not a [fair] comparison,” Guardiola said. “It is not good for us comparing [ourselves] with that Barcelona team.”

“That team dominated the last decade, 15 to 20 years with different managers, different players. We have just won the first title. To join this kind of team you have to be there a long time.”

Guardiola also said Martin Glenn did not understand what the yellow ribbon he wears represents when the Football Association chief executive compared it with the swastika and ISIS.

Glenn has since apologised and Guardiola said: “My first impression when I heard that was he didn’t understand exactly what the yellow ribbon means. He made a comment that was far away from what it means. Maybe now he will realise. It’s not about independence or no independence.”

“It’s about four people who are in jail [in Catalonia] when they didn’t do absolutely anything to be in jail for. I think with his comments he didn’t understand the reality of what happened right now with the situation but I’m pretty sure now he will know it.”

Having accepted an FA charge of “wearing a political message”, Guardiola added that he will stop wearing the ribbon.

“At the end there are rules,” the former Barca and Bayern Munich coach said. “They [FA] have them and they apply them, I accept the decision because I have to. I accept them but it doesn’t mean I agree with the decision. But I am here, I am working here and there are rules and I accept them.”

Marco Verratti sees red as PSG crashes out of Champions League

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Paris St-Germain crashed out of the UEFA Champions League after being beaten by holders Real Madrid by 2-1 (5-2 on aggregate) in a game that also saw Marco Verratti being sent off.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in the first leg at home, which Real won 3-1, and Los Blancos looked confident at the sound of the starting whistle with Sergio Ramos forced the first real save of the night from Alphonse Areola from a corner.

Six minutes after the break, Real were one foot into the quarter finals when Ronaldo headed in from Lucas Vazquez’s cross to extend Real’s lead in France and for his 22nd goal in his past 13 Champions League appearances.

It was also a decisive moment that went against the Ligue 1 leaders when Marco Verratti received a second yellow card for dissent, charging at the referee after a heavy tackle and being left in tears as he trudged off the pitch. The Italy international had already been booked when he fouled Casemiro in the first half.

However, PSG showed that they still have some fight in them when Edinson Cavani equalised through a deflection following a scramble in the Real box.

But it proved to be little more than consolation as Casemiro’s own heavily deflected strike from the edge of the box was enough to seal victory for the visitors.

With the amount of money PSG had spent in the summer, this will be seen as another failure in European competition for them and coach Unai Emery.

Emery, who won the Europa League three times with Sevilla, has failed to take PSG beyond the last 16 in two attempts — last season they lost 6-5 on aggregate against Barcelona, despite winning the first leg 4-0.

PSG best record in the Champions League was their entry into the semi-finals in 1994-95, although they have not made it past the quarter-finals since then.

Buffon: ‘Wounded’ Juventus will feel spurred on against Tottenham

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Juventus captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has compared his team to a wounded animal ahead of the Champions League last‑16 second leg against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, but insisted that they always raised their game when the odds were against them.

Buffon added that the outbreak of pessimistic atmosphere in Turin after the 2-2 first-leg draw was entirely normal as Juventus suffer is invariably magnified due to their domestic dominance in Italy over the last six years.

Additionally, with the Bianconeri manager, Massimiliano Allegri, suggesting he was ready to start with Gonzalo Higuaín, Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa up front, Buffon sounded a note of optimism.

“When Juventus are wounded or we have our backs to the wall, it spurs us on,” the 40-year-old goalkeeper said. “It will be an uphill battle but sometimes you can get caught out if it’s all downhill all the way. It’s obvious there is a certain amount of pessimism after the first leg.”

One false step with Juventus and people start to fear the worst or criticise us. But we are capable of playing the right game. Spurs like to attack but by the same token they have a style of play which sometimes allows the opposition a few chances. It will be very even. The team that has the best clinical edge will be the team that goes through.”

Buffon also claimed the Tottenham striker Harry Kane reminded him of Gabriel Batistuta, the great Argentina No 9, but he was more vocal in his concerns regarding Juventus’s own attacking options.

Paulo Dybala is back from injury while Higuaín returned to training on Monday after an ankle problem.

“I don’t see any reason why they cannot both play,” Allegri said. “The fact that this is such a huge game – you want to play in a game like this, even if you’re not in tip-top shape. Douglas Costa could well play, too.”

Prediction:

Tottenham 2 – 1 Juventus