Speaking ahead of their Champions League opener with Feyenoord on Wednesday evening, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insisted that his side need to “win respect” in Europe.
The Blues will take the relatively short trip to the Dutch champions looking to get their European campaign off to a perfect start, but the City boss has played down talk of winning the whole thing.
Talking on Tuesday evening – as relayed by The Telegraph – Guardiola said:
“We are Man City, we have to win our respect in Europe.
“I don’t know if we are able to compete to win the titles. We are still in the process to grow up. We can do better than last season, but I don’t know. It depends on our level.”
And the Manchester City boss also addressed the ongoing saga regarding Yaya Toure, with the Ivorian’s future thrown into doubt again after being omitted from the squad to face Feyenoord.
The 34-year-old is yet to feature this season despite signing a new one-year extension to his City contract at the end of last year, and speculation over his short-term future at the Etihad has begun.
Speaking before the Feyenoord match, Guardiola said:
“It’s a sporting decision. I’m always happy – but of course I demand as much as possible.
“I want more, not just from Yaya – I want more from everyone. But the decision is he didn’t play the last game and today he is not in the squad and he knows the reason why.”
The situation seems like déjà vu after Toure’s omission from the Spaniard’s early Champions League squad last season, and he’ll hope he can force his way back into Guardiola’s plans again a year later.
Meanwhile, reports surfacing from Spain over the past day have claimed that Real Madrid are currently keeping a close eye on Manchester City youngster Brahim Diaz ahead of a potential move.
OK Diario believe that the La Liga giants are monitoring the 18-year-old, with Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane allegedly a big fan of Diaz after seeing him play for City in a pre-season encounter.
On that occasion Diaz put in an influential performance, capping it off with a sublime finish, as City beat Madrid 4-1 in the International Champions Cup and it seems to have caught Madrid’s attention.
The teenager made his first-team debut at the Etihad at start of last season, coming on as a late substitute in their EFL Cup tie with Swansea City, and he signed a new three-year deal shortly after.