UCL: Guardiola urges his 'lean squad' to maintain focus

Champions League By: Iseghohi Odianosen | 12/12/2018

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has urged his injury-ravaged team ravaged team to maintain focus against Hoffenheim in the Champions League at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola aimed to finish the group as the winner but at the moment he has just 15 fit senior players to choose from for the game against the German outfit who has nothing to play for as they are already eliminated.

The likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Danilo, Benjamin Mendy and Claudio Bravo, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Mangala, David Silva and Fernandinho are all out of the clash.

Guardiola said: “We have 15 players available so I cannot do too much.

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“We are going into a really tough game. We are in the next stage and that’s important but we want to go through finishing first. Every game we try to win.

“If you finish first or second the last 16 is tough but to play at home (in the second leg) is a small advantage.”

Guardiola expects his players to learn lessons from their reverse at Chelsea, which saw Liverpool supplant the champions at the summit.

He said: “The day after we trained, a bit more sad than normal, but that’s normal when we lose.

“But unusual is not to lose a game – what’s unusual is what we have done in the last 15 or 16 months. That’s not normal, the amount of games we won and the few games we lost.

“But I have no argument with the way we lost. I don’t have anything negative to say to my players.

“Against good teams that can happen. If you make mistakes against good teams, Champions League teams, Chelsea, always you concede. It’s part of the process and we have to learn.”