CITY STILL ON A LEARNING CURVE! | Man City’s recent history may be filled with domestic success, but manager Pep Guardiola says his charges go into the Champions League knockout phase as European novices.
City drew 1-1 at home to Celtic on Tuesday in their final group stage match, which maintained their unbeaten home record in the competition this year.The big-spending club had already qualified for the knockout phase in second place in Group C behind Guardiola’s former team, Barcelona.“Considering that Man City arrived in the semifinal for the first time (last season) in their long history, I’m so happy we’re there to compete against the best teams in the world,” Guardiola said.
“The group was really tough. The Champions League is not easy, especially for a team that’s not experienced in Europe. You have to win that respect through performance in the next years.”
With City already safely into the knockout stages, the match was a chance for the coach to ring the changes from the side that lost 3-1 at home to Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday.
There was equally nothing riding on the outcome at the Etihad Stadium for bottom side Celtic, who produced a spirited display and were the better team for most of the first half.
Patrick Roberts, signed by City last year but on loan at Celtic, gave them a fourth-minute lead, but his excellent individual effort was swiftly cancelled out by Kelechi Iheanacho.
Guardiola would not be drawn on who he would prefer to face in the last 16, and played down the potential for a clash against current European champions and his old rivals, Real Madrid.