Belfast Telegraph

Celtic v Man City: Equalling winning record of no importance to Pep

By Ronnie Esplin

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has played down the importance of equalling a winning record when his side face Celtic in the Champions League.

Since the former Barcelona boss took over, City have won all 10 of the competitive matches they have played so far this season, six of which have been in the Premier League.

Victory over Brendan Rodgers' side in their Group C encounter would draw them level with Tottenham's record-setting 11 wins on the bounce from the start of the 1960-61 season.

Guardiola, who confirmed at the Celtic Park media conference that Kevin De Bruyne, Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph would be out, said: "Wins help to win more. The confidence is a real aspect to the way we play.

"But every game is hard. I am not concerned or focused on a little, little record. In the future an English team will win 12 or 13 games in a row, that is going to happen.

"What I want is to play well. I want to continue with what we have done in the last months, continue to do the things we have done really well and improve on the aspects we have to improve on to win the game.

"Football is a process and my happiness as coach is to see the team getting better."

The Ladbrokes Premiership leaders were thrashed 7-0 by Barcelona in their Group C opener in the Nou Camp, which came as no big surprise to the Spaniard.

However, tonight in front of a 60,000 sell-out Celtic Park, Guardiola expects to see the Hoops side that battered Old Firm rivals Rangers 5-1 at Parkhead in the game previous to their Catalan capitulation.

He said: "I completely agree with what Brendan Rodgers said, many teams suffer the same as what happened in Barcelona.

"You cannot imagine how many goals Barcelona can score in five minutes, but tomorrow for 92, 93, 94 minutes they will be focused so it will be completely different. It is not easy. I saw the game against Rangers here, how intense it was.

"It was completely different to the way they played in Barcelona, which was more passive.

"Against Rangers it was so aggressive, high pressing, that is the game we are going to expect."

De Bruyne suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday's 3-1 Premier League win at Swansea, while club captain Kompany suffered a groin injury in last Wednesday's EFL Cup third-round win against the Swans.

Guardiola expects both to be back in up to "three and a half weeks" while hoping that Delph should have recovered from his muscle injury in time for the Everton game after the international break.

He also revealed that back-up keeper Angus Gunn could be out for a week to 10 days with a hip problem.

Guardiola also confirmed that Belgian duo Kompany and De Bruyne had flown to Barcelona to see top surgeon Dr Ramon Cugat.

He said: "They are injured but we are going to do our best to get them back. Maybe two, three, three and half weeks both will be ready.

"We have a doctor, Max Sala, and this year we have an assistant, Eduardo Mauri, who came in to join us because one doctor is almost impossible.

"Ramon Cugat is the best doctor in the world and we are so lucky to get his opinion and get the treatment.

"Max and Eduardo speak with Dr Cugat and in that case we are so safe."

Belfast Telegraph


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