Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has named the four Tottenham players his side must ‘respect’ after they were drawn together in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Chasing an unprecedented ‘quadruple’ this season, Guardiola’s side must go through Premier League rivals Spurs to advance to the last four of the competition, with the Spaniard insisting that he has a lot of respect for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Speaking after the announcement of the draw, he said (as quoted by Football365): “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.
“(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 Ali, 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.”
With the fixtures coming thick and fast at the business end of the season, Guardiola admitted that his squad’s numerous injuries could take a toll, and was hopeful that many of his stars would return from the upcoming international break fully fit.
PEP We will have to make changes.
(John) Stones is not ready to play. He is still recovering.
(Vincent) Kompany and Kevin (De Bruyne) are not fit. We don’t have too many options.
Tomorrow is quarter-final that is most important thing – to reach the semi-finals.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) 15 March 2019
He added: “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.”