Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City side need to remain focused ahead of Basel second-leg

Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City side need to remain focused ahead of Basel second-leg

The Catalan coach has stated his side need to maintain their focus ahead of their clash with the Swiss champions.

Danial Kennedy

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has insisted that his side have to maintain their focus on Wednesday night, as they welcome FC Basel to The Etihad Stadium for the second-leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. 

Starting from zero 

It has been an excellent campaign all around for The Citizens in almost all the competitions they have participated in, and with their 1-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday putting them four wins away from the Premier League title focus will return to Europe's elite competition. 

City will also now be touted as the favourites for the Champions League following Paris Saint-Germain's exit to Real Madrid, and it seems Guardiola all but have secured their place in the last-eight of the competition. 

They head into this clash four goals to the good following their win at St. Jakob-Park, but despite that Guardiola has insisted that they head into the clash back at "zero" and will need to be "focused" throughout the 90 minutes. 

"Tomorrow we start again from zero," Guardiola told his pre-match press conference. "In knockout games, you have to look at what you have done in the first game." 

"We have to be focused not to make a mistake," the Catalan insisted. "If you are focused on what you have to do on set pieces and you control the game, you will go through." 

"The Champions League is something special, you have to be focused. But in football, anything can happen," the coach proclaimed. "Always there is time to learn and tomorrow is a good test to learn how to handle a good moment." 

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Nearing a return, but have to be careful 

Despite their dominance, there will be some significant absentees missing from Guardiola's selection, with both Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho expected to be missing from the starting XI once again. 

Sterling hasn't featured for The Citizens since the first-leg in Switzerland while Fernandinho picked up a hamstring strain during the Carabao Cup Final victory, but they will be boosted by the return of Benjamin Mendy to first-team training after six months out. 

Guardiola stated that the Champions League clash may come too early for Sterling and Fernandinho but could return for Monday's trip to Stoke City, but also gave warning about Mendy's return. 

"Ferna is much much better, as is Sterling," he said on their progress. "Maybe tomorrow they won’t play but they may be ready for Stoke City."

"Mendy is back but he’s been out for six months," Guardiola concluded. "We have to be careful."