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Pep Guardiola says Manchester City 'almost there' after thrashing Basel

Manchester City made short work of Basel in the first leg of their round-of-16 Champions League tie.


 February 14th, 2018  |  11:15 AM  |   310 views



Pep Guardiola was delighted that Manchester City have effectively already won their Champions League round-of-16  clash against Basel with his side still competing in four competitions.


City thrashed the Swiss champions 4-0 away with the second leg still to come on March 7 in between Premier League games against Chelsea and relegation-threatened Stoke City.


Guardiola should now have the opportunity to rest some of his players for the return leg at the Etihad Stadium with a Carabao Cup final and FA Cup ties coming up in another hectic period.


"It's an amazing result but of course the Champions League is 180 minutes, but we are almost there in the quarterfinals," Guardiola told a news conference.


"I'm not saying it's already done because in football anything can happen and we have respect for Basel, but it's an amazing result.


"We were clinical today and that's so important in this competition. Overall, I'm delighted.


"It's so important [to win well]. Of course we will be focussed on Basel but with the result [and] Arsenal and Chelsea [upcoming] it will be so important to focus on them and take another step to the Premier League."


City took control of the tie with a devastating 10-minute spell when they scored three times through Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero.


Gundogan added a fourth in the second and could have had hat trick as City spurned a number of chances, but Guardiola was happy with the final winning margin -- particularly as Basel missed a golden chance with the score at 0-0.


"If we are able to get to the quarterfinals then that is better than last season and that is the first step," Guardiola added.


On missed chances he said: "They arrived two or three times as well.


"It was important to have Vinny [Kompany] back, [Fabian] Delph back, a lot of players came back from long-term injuries, it's good for the rhythm and good for everybody.


"[Gabriel] Jesus and [Benjamin] Mendy are coming back -- we'll have almost the whole squad for that period of the final, FA Cup, Premier League, Champions League, everyone will be involved and we need it."


Guardiola now has the task of keeping his players at the top level with such a busy schedule but he is confident his players will give everything.


He added: "We are still in February and in the Premier League we are in an amazing position with 16 points in front. We are almost in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and in one final and have an opportunity to get to quarterfinal of the FA Cup.


"All we can do is take it seriously and arrive good and do good in the game."


Skipper Kompany wants to see his side produce another dominant display in the return leg in Manchester and won't take anything for granted until the second 90 minutes are played.


He told BT Sport: "If we have this game at the Etihad and it's 3-2 or a 2-2 draw that won't give us a good feeling to go to the next round with.


"We've shown we're the better team today and only for a lack of motivation and effort could we not be that team again when we play at the Etihad.''



courtesy of ESPNFC

by Jonathan Smith


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