MX23RW : Monday, March 25 09:58:35

All-English Champions League clash is too close to call, says Pep Guardiola

All-English Champions League clash is too close to call, says Pep Guardiola
© Reuters
Last season's finalists Liverpool face Porto while Manchester United take on Barcelona.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes his side's Champions League quarter-final with Tottenham is a "50/50" tie.

City have won their last three games against Mauricio Pochettino's side but Guardiola is taking nothing for granted after Friday's draw, which also saw last year's beaten finalists Liverpool receive arguably the most favourable tie after being paired with Porto.

Manchester United face a daunting tie against Barcelona, although caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will enjoy another trip to the Nou Camp, where he scored the winner in United's Champions League final win over Bayern Munich in 1999.

United were drawn as the away team for the first leg but the tie had to be reversed, with UEFA stipulating in advance following advice from local authorities that they and City could not play at home on successive nights.

United and Liverpool will meet in the semi-finals if they reach the last four, with Tottenham or Manchester City facing the winner of the quarter-final between Ajax and Juventus.

The ties between Liverpool and Porto and Tottenham and Manchester City will be held on April 9 and 17, with the other quarter-finals staged on April 10 and 16.

City won both of their Premier League ties with Tottenham last season and also beat Pochettino's side at Wembley earlier in this campaign. The two teams meet again in the league just days after the second leg.

"We know each other quite well, we have played (Spurs) in the last years many times so we have a lot of respect for them," Guardiola said.

"(They are a) top side, so it's 50/50.

"Tottenham, huge respect because I know them quite well. They can use different systems, how good they are up front with Son (Heung-min), (Harry) Kane, Dele Alli, with the quality from (Christian) Eriksen. It's a tough side but any other team in the Champions League would be the same.

"Any team has its strong points and weak points, the same as us. We must try to discover that.

"What I want is to come back from the international break with people fit, ready to play the last month and a half with everybody making his own contribution because if we are able to get to the semi-finals (of the FA Cup), April is incredible with the fixtures we have, a lot of games, and everybody will be necessary to play."

Tottenham striker Harry Kane said he was looking forward to "two great games".

"Manchester City are obviously one of the best teams in Europe at the moment so it will be a great test for us," he said on the club website.

"In the quarter-finals of the Champions League you have to expect to play tough teams though, so we will be ready for it."

Asked whether he was confident Spurs could overcome City over two legs, he added: "Yes. We have to believe in our ability.

"It will be tough but it's a chance to get to a Champions League semi-final so we will give it everything."

Solskjaer felt he was fated to be paired with Barcelona, given his history with the city and the stadium.

"Yes, it had to be," United's caretaker boss said on his club's website.

"I've had so many texts from friends saying this year is going to be the year that we'll get through because of my (old shirt) number, 20, and it being 20 years ago.

"We're off to the Nou Camp again."

On that famous night in 1999, which saw United clinch a remarkable Treble, Solskjaer added: "It was the biggest night I've had in football. Of course, for all of us in that team, it was an unbelievable night.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has happy memories of Barcelona
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has happy memories of Barcelona (Owen Humphreys/PA)

"It's a great stadium...and, of course, we met (Barcelona) in the group stages as well that year – 3-3 each both home and away. It'll be a good game."

He added: "We want these games against the biggest clubs and the biggest teams.

"We had the finals against them in 2009 and 2011 (both of which Barcelona won) and the semi-final in 2008 when Scholesy (Paul Scholes) scored (to set up a final meeting with Chelsea), and it's those games that our supporters and this club crave.

"We are looking forward to this one."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp cautioned against treating Porto lightly, even though the Reds beat them 5-0 on aggregate in the last 16 of last season's competition, with all the goals coming in a one-sided first leg in Portugal.

He said: "I could not be further away from thinking it's the best draw because it isn't – it is just the draw, it's the opponent we have to prepare for and that's all we will be thinking about from when we start preparing for the game."


Click here for more stories about Pep Guardiola

Click here for more stories about Manchester United

Share this article now:
Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane celebrates scoring against Southampton on March 9, 2019
Read Next:
Tottenham and Manchester City drawn together in Champions League quarter-finals
>

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account