Manchester City play Lyon in the last of the 2019/20 Champions League quarter-finals on Saturday night at 20:00.
Manchester City vs Lyon: Five key stats…
- This will be the third UCL meeting between Man City and Lyon, with the Citizens yet to taste victory against the French side (P:2 W:0 D:1 L:1).
- City have reached the UCL quarter-finals for the fourth time in five seasons but have only progressed beyond this point once (2015/16).
- Lyon are unbeaten in their last four games against English teams, including a win and a draw against City in last season’s UCL group stages.
- Memphis Depay has scored in six consecutive UCL matches; Ruud van Nistelrooy is the only Dutch player with a longer run in the competition (9).
- Gabriel Jesus has been directly involved in more UCL goals than any other City player this season, scoring six and assisting three.
Stats provided by Opta
Having made it past Real Madrid, the Citizens face Lyon in their quarter-final tie in Lisbon on Saturday night, with Bayern Munich awaiting them in the semi-final after their 8-2 win over Barcelona.
Thus far, Guardiola has guided City to three consecutive quarter-finals but has been unable to take the club beyond that point, with their last appearance in the Champions League last-four coming back in 2015/16 under Manuel Pellegrini.
However, the Catalan tactician has delivered no fewer than six major domestic trophies in England since his appointment in 2016, winning two Premier League titles, three League Cups and an FA Cup, while also setting the single-season points total (100) in 2017/18.
But former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes that, as was the case during Guardiola’s time with Bayern Munich, missing out on the Champions League trophy would represent failure for the ex-Barcelona boss, with the former England international believing City made the hire with the sole aim of achieving continental glory.
“Listen, with the competitive spirit Guardiola has, the perfectionist he seems to be and the obsessive nature he has, he would not be happy if he walked away from City without winning the Champions League,” said Ferdinand.
“He was probably more successful at Bayern Munich than he has been at City but the fact he didn’t win the Champions League in Germany will always taint his time there.
“That is due to the level he has operated at in the past and the standards he set himself at Barcelona. I think it would be the same if this was to happen again at City.
“He has been brought in by their owners specifically to win the Champions League, whether he likes it or not.
“They were winning the Premier League before he arrived. So he hasn’t so far achieved anything at City that nobody else has.
“He can say what he wants about not being judged on the Champions League because he has to protect himself, but he has been brought in to win this tournament.
“I’m not saying he would be unsuccessful if he doesn’t manage to win it. But he would not have done what was on the tin.”
Guardiola will be boosted in his bid for Champions League success by the form of Gabriel Jesus, who grabbed a goal and an assist against Real Madrid last time out in the absence of Sergio Aguero, extending the Brazilians record to nine direct goal involvements in this years’ competition.
Raheem Sterling, meanwhile, has up to three games of the season remaining to become the first Manchester City player to more than 34 goals in a single campaign since Franny Lee did so in 1972. Sterling set himself a target of between 35 and 45 goals before the campaign got underway and currently sits on 31.
But above any individual aims, Sterling has been keen to highlight the difference in mentality among his teammates since returning from lockdown, noting that they were ‘extra hungry’ during their round-of-16 win over Real Madrid.
“We were extra hungry (against Real Madrid),” the England international said.
“I think the mentality since we got back in – day one after lockdown – has been how much we want this. We’ve got energy to progress in this competition. Energy and fight – we showed that against Madrid throughout the game.
“There are teams in his competition with great quality. We have to keep up the energy and play our football. We want to go out there and play our football.
“The most important thing is to run and give 100 per cent for every minute we are in the competition.
“It’s a new format and it’s one we are ready for. All we can do now is go over there and run our socks off. That will make the difference and decide whether we progress or not.”
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With the rest of the tournament now following a single-game elimination format, the stakes have been raised even higher and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has warned his teammates that Man City are now just one mistake away from Champions League elimination.
“Lyon will be highly motivated,” the Germany international explained.
“It’s a huge chance for them to reach the semi-finals in just 90 minutes. They have nothing to lose. It doesn’t matter to us that everybody is saying we are the big favourite – Juventus was the big favourite too, but Lyon showed what they are capable of in two games.
“I’m not already thinking about a possible semi-final yet and it’s really not possible to say what will happen in the other games as well. Anything can just happen in only 90 minutes. You have to perform as it’s already a final.
“One mistake can decide the round. But we’re feeling very focused as there’s absolutely no distraction here in Lisboa – and it’s only the UCL tournament left – no Premier League or anything else.”
Man City v Lyon team news:
- Summer signings Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres are ineligible for 2019/20 Champions League games, while striker Sergio Aguero remains doubtful so we should see Gabriel Jesus continue up-front.
- Lyon, meanwhile, have a very strong squad to choose from with Youssouf Kone their only injury concern.