Pep Guardiola believes his Manchester City players can learn from Barcelona’s faith in their own ability after their remarkable comeback against Paris Saint-Germain.
The City boss has overhauled the side’s tactics, urging his players to dominate possession and pass out from the back even when they are under heavy pressure from their opponents.
It’s a system that his squad is getting used to with City now unbeaten in their last 11 games in all competitions following the 2-0 FA Cup quarterfinal victory over Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Guardiola says his team now need to learn to match Barca’s belief following the Spanish giants’ remarkable 6-1 victory over the French champions on Wednesday to progress in the Champions League 6-5 on aggregate.
“Football shows us a lot of things, especially Barcelona — for me, the most important thing is they never give up,” he told a news conference after his side reached the FA Cup semifinals.
“They always had faith they would qualify. It is not easy to have faith when you are 4-0 down against PSG.
“The most important thing is they believed it. After that, anything could happen in football. That is what I have to try to convince to my players.
“The first step is you have to dream to be in the quarterfinals, then you have to believe you can be there. That is the first step and after that, we will see.”
Guardiola says he didn’t need to see the incredible fightback to remind him that City are far from through to the Champions League last-eight themselves despite leading Monaco 5-3 after their first leg clash.
Anything better than a two-goal defeat in the Principality will guarantee City’s progress but Guardiola says he knows exactly how dangerous the Ligue 1 leaders are after their first encounter at the Etihad.
“Maybe [Barca’s win] helped us to understand that a little bit but I didn’t need to see what happened,” he said. “After five minutes of our game against Monaco at home, I realised how tough it would be.
“Every time we lost the ball in the first 10 minutes at the Etihad, the way they reacted with [Kylian] Mbappe, [Thomas] Lemar, Bernardo Silva, [Radamel] Falcao, [Benjamin] Mendy and [Djibril] Sidibe, the full-backs, I immediately realised that the game will not be done until the 92nd or 93rd minute in Monaco.”
The Monaco game is the middle match of a big week for City, which started well with the FA Cup win over Middlesbrough and culminates with a crucial Premier League clash with top-four rivals Liverpool next Sunday.
“We have a lot of important games to play and have started the week well in terms of winning the first one and we will take a lot of confidence to Monaco on Wednesday,” Guardiola said.