Only a matter of time until Man City win Champions League, says Toure

By Sports Desk May 09, 2023

It is only a matter of time until Manchester City win the Champions League under Pep Guardiola, according to their former defender Kolo Toure.

As part of their treble bid, City face record 14-time European champions Real Madrid in the first leg of a mouth-watering semi-final tie that begins at Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

No manager has lost more Champions League semi-final ties than Guardiola, who has suffered six defeats in nine appearances at this stage.

But Toure is convinced a City success in Europe's elite club competition will come sooner rather than later and believes this could be the year for Guardiola to win his third Champions League crown, and first with City.

"It is a matter of time, we all know that and you can see that," Toure, who played for City between 2009 and 2013, told Stats Perform.

"City has been dominant in the Premier League, of course. 

"And in Champions League, they haven't got as far, but they've been so unlucky a few times. In football, you need that luck element, it's maybe that one or two per cent. 

"At the moment it doesn't go to Man City, but you can feel it's coming. For Pep, he knows it is coming anyway. 

"He is breeding the team he wants. Of course, when you're not winning it and for a manager of his stature, everybody is just trying to put the pressure on, but there's no pressure because within the Champions League you play against unbelievable teams.

"Keep calm, keep the process, keep improving the team if it doesn't work. Sometimes they are teams who will press very well. You have to be able to value the game, you cannot be predictable. If they know you're going to pass short, they will go at you, and you can lose the ball and that can be damaging. 

"And there are moments you have to feel as a player that, 'we have to go over because this guy is pressing so well'. City have that and for me, it can help them to reach the Champions League [final].

"You just need to find that key element with which will help them to win that Champions League, which for me is coming." 

Madrid beat City 6-5 in a memorable semi-final tie last season, progressing after extra time in a painful collapse for Guardiola's men, who led by two goals going into the last minute of the second leg.

This season Carlo Ancelotti's side have already seen off Liverpool and Chelsea in the knockout stages, but Toure is confident City can progress after beating RB Leipzig 8-1 on aggregate and then ruthlessly dismissing Bayern Munich 4-1 over two legs.

Toure said: "For me, when I look at both teams, I see City going on further because I believe that they have the right team. Now, when I say the right team, I mean they are really well-balanced. 

"Defensively, they look really strong. In the middle they are strong, but at the same time, they are in form. They look really, really good this year.

"With [Manuel] Akanji signing, they look very good [in defence]. Going forward they have Erling Haaland which brings another dimension in the game because City always been a team that always want to play short ball all the time, but now Kevin De Bruyne can go over the top as well.

"One thing Pep has been doing really well this season, it's been managing the [minutes] really well, managing the energy.

"Every time they're winning 2-0 or 3-0, he just takes the key players out, to rest them to make sure they don't get fatigued to make sure they don't get injured. 

"That management this season will help the players to be fresher because when you go to the end on the Champions League, it is right at the end of the season, and sometimes players are tired [physically] and they are mentally tired because they've been playing so many games. That will make you fatigued, that's where you lose the lucidity that you need. 

"A few years ago, you always saw them and at the end of the season not feeling that fresh because we've been over overworked really. But this season, I look at the Manchester City team and they look really fresh."

After the match in Spain, City will travel to Everton in the Premier League on Sunday before the return leg against Madrid in Manchester on May 17.

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