Man City coach Pep Guardiola is looking to set two individual milestones as his side prepares to play Lyon in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Manchester City has a shot this Sunday to defeat Lyon and land in the Champions League semifinals. It gets the English club one step closer to potentially winning its first European title, but it’s also a chance for manager Pep Guardiola to make some history.
Should Man City beat Lyon, Guardiola would equal a personal best set by coach Jose Mourinho when it comes to semifinal appearances. It was in 2014 that Mourinho reached his eighth Champions League semifinal, edging past Manchester United’s legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Pep claims the Champions League has nothing to do with personal glory
“We are going to try [to win the Champions League], like every season,” Guardiola told reporters. “It’s not about me.”
Man City are looking to make the semis for only the second time in club history and a first under the 49-year-old Guardiola. The Spanish coach made the Champions League semifinals in each of his first seven years as a manager — four times with Barcelona and three with Bayern Munich.
Manchester City are one of eight teams contending for the Champions League, which will see the remainder of the tournament played in Portugal over 12 days in a single-elimination bracket format.
The tournament, which was put on pause in March during the knockout stage because of the coronavirus pandemic, will crown a new champion on Aug. 23. The English club overcame Real Madrid over two legs in the round of 16 to secure a spot in the last eight.
“If you beat Madrid you are normally in the final and lift the trophy, but we were in the last 16 and have a long road,” said Guardiola, who guided Barca to the Champions League title in 2009 and 2011.
Should Manchester City win it all, Guardiola would also secure a third Champions League trophy, tying him for most in tournament history alongside Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, former AC Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti and Liverpool manager Bob Paisley.
Guardiola’s side, however, has some issues to overcome if they want to go far in this tournament. Striker Sergio Aguero is likely to miss the match, and possibly the remainder of the competition, through injury.
Manchester City’s recent success comes after UEFA handed the club a two-year ban this past February after ruling they had committed “serious breaches” of financial regulations related to club licensing and financial fair play rules. The Court of Arbitration for Sport, however, recently announced the club had been cleared of “disguising equity funds as sponsorship contributions.”