Pep Guardiola has a good feeling about Man City’s Champions League chances

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is confident of an extended run in the Champions League this season.

Guardiola believes his side will be determined to make amends after their frustrating quarter-final exit at the hands of Lyon last term.

City can secure their place in the knockout stages for an eighth consecutive year with victory over Olympiacos in Greece on Wednesday.

Guardiola said: “We need one more game to be there mathematically, so that is great. With respect to the other ones, I have a feeling we will do really well this season.

“I don’t know why but I’ve felt it from the beginning. I expect a reaction after last season when we finished against Lyon in Portugal. We know what we have to do.”

City have looked comfortable in Europe this term, winning their opening three matches in Group C.

Their Premier League form has been a different matter, with points dropped in five of their first eight games, but Guardiola also expects that to turn around.

City were beaten at Tottenham last weekend
City were beaten at Tottenham last weekend

The Catalan said: “We know we are a team who last season scored a lot but now we are struggling. But we have to find solutions. We have the players to find the right way to attack more fluently and I have the feeling we can score goals.

“The way we play is quite good, I’m quite happy. The little details we still have to improve. We conceded penalties that are not necessary, sometimes we need clear chances to score.

“But the moment we break one or two of these kind of things we will get better. The season is still young and I’m fully optimistic we are going to do a good season.”

Guardiola has won six major trophies, including two Premier League titles, in his four years at City and last week he agreed a new contract through to 2023. Winning the Champions League is now a top priority for the club but Guardiola insists the competition is not all-consuming.

“It’s not an obsession,” he said. “I say it every season, we are going to try our best.”

The intensity of the English fixture list this shortened season could work against the Premier League clubs in Europe, however, and Guardiola recognises this is another obstacle that must be overcome.

He said: “Every season this league is (at a) disadvantage with the rest of the leagues, not just in this special year with Covid-19, for that we’ve had to adapt to.

Sergio Aguero has recovered from a hamstring injury
Sergio Aguero has recovered from a hamstring injury

“Even when the situation is normal – no winter breaks, a lot of games, a lot of competitions, intensity, the weather conditions, the pitches – many, many things.

“But that is attractive and the challenge is this one. When you are able to do it, that is nice.”

Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Benjamin Mendy are all back in contention for City after recent lay-offs.