Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes the match against Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) will not be his team’s toughest Champions League group game this term.
Guardiola enjoyed unparalleled success with Lionel Messi in his team during their time together at Barcelona. However, the Spanish manager will now face the Argentine sensation as an opponent in the Champions League this season, after Manchester City were drawn alongside PSG in Group A of the competition.
Despite the presence of Lionel Messi and several other star names within PSG’s ranks, Guardiola has refused to consider the meeting with the Ligue 1 giants’ as the toughest. The Manchester City boss went on to claim that PSG are not even in his thoughts at the moment.
Quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News, Guardiola stated:
“The most difficult game we have in the group will be the first against Leipzig. This is the most important game of the group stage.
“I have not thought one second about PSG. The teams we are going to face are so, so difficult.”
Guardiola is well aware of the threat posed by Leipzig and did not shy away from providing them with due credit for their achievements last season.
“Leipzig grew a lot in the last years from not being a contender with Bayern Munich, who were unstoppable, to being there all the time second-third, second-third, fighting with Dortmund.
“I know the rhythm and the quality, the pace they have. It will be a good test but it is important to arrive in the test the way we played against Leicester.”
The Manchester City boss will be buoyed by the fact that star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is set to return to action on Wednesday against Leipzig. The Belgian was an unused substitute during the weekend’s win over Leicester City in the Premier League.
PSG secure comfortable win without Lionel Messi
Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG secured a comfortable win even in the absence of Lionel Messi and Neymar on Saturday. The Ligue 1 giants ran out 4-0 winners against Clermont Foot as Ander Herrera netted a brace before second-half goals from Kylian Mbappe and Idrissa Gueye.
Since he did not take part in the weekend’s action for PSG, Lionel Messi is certain to start against Club Brugge in their Champions League Group A opener on Wednesday. Both Manchester City and PSG are desperate to win the Champions League this term.
As such, Lionel Messi and Guardiola will be keen to outdo each other when they meet for the first time in this year’s competition on September 28.
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