Pep Guardiola: Man City Star Is Ruled Out Against Real Madrid
Manchester City will be without defender Nathan Ake against Real Madrid tomorrow in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final, manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed.
Ake has had some fitness over the past few weeks. The 28-year-old had missed a couple of Premier League matches in late April, but had returned to action in the lead-up to the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
However, just a few days before the match, the former Chelsea ace had to be taken off injured during a game against Leeds United, which meant he missed the trip to the Spanish capital.
And now, Guardiola has confirmed that Ake has not recovered in time for the all-important second leg against Real Madrid which will take place at the Etihad tomorrow night.
Speaking at a press conference, the Manchester City manager said (h/t Manchester Evening News): “Except Nathan, everyone is fit.”
Guardiola’s statement also means that midfield mainstay Rodri is fit and ready to face Real Madrid.
The Spaniard had to come off with some physical discomfort during Man City’s last Premier League game against Everton, but the manager had assured that he would be ready for the UCL contest, which seems to be the case.
With the tie nicely poised at 1-1 after the first leg, everything is on the line heading into tomorrow’s match at the Etihad. And Guardiola insisted that his players will have to put a top performance if they are to defeat Real Madrid.
“The players have to make an incredible performance to beat Madrid. I have an idea to be more different, more fluid in attack. It will happen naturally at home, we feel free, doesn’t matter, we go.”
When asked why Real Madrid are so good in the Champions League, the former Barcelona manager replied: “I don’t know, if I knew that I’d know how to beat them. The reason is they’ve always had quality players, without that standard they wouldn’t achieve.”
“Whatever competition or year they always have a great squad. They always think of what they’re going to do. I think about what we’re going to do, our strengths, and what our threats can be,” he added.
“We’ll try to impose ourselves on the game. We know what we can do. We want to minimise their threats.”