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Mauricio Pochettino, Pep Guardiola renew hostilities as PSG and Manchester City battle for Champions League final spot

Paris Saint-Germain will host Manchester City at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday
Paris Saint-Germain will host Manchester City at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday
ANALYST
Modified 28 Apr 2021
Feature

The road to the UEFA Champions League final began on Tuesday, with Chelsea holding Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.

Another blockbuster semi-final first-leg fixture awaits when Paris Saint-Germain host Manchester City on Wednesday. Both teams have a lot in common after growing steadily through massive investments in the past.

PSG and Manchester City have also been dominant in their domestic leagues, although they have never won the Champions League.

PSG, however, reached the final of the competition last season and are now aiming for a second successive final. Meanwhile, Manchester City’s best feat in Europe remains a semi-final berth.

PSG vs Manchester City: Two attacking teams lock horns

Wednesday’s game will pitch two of the best attacking teams in Europe. The wealth of attacking talent at the disposal of both teams is worth millions of euros.

PSG boast the likes of Neymar and Mbappe, who could easily walk into any team in the world. Angel di Maria, Marco Veratti and Julian Draxler are also not far off.

Manchester City do not have individual players with the global appeal of Mbappe and Neymar but are collectively a world-class team.

Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling are all players who have the quality to win matches on their own. It therefore remains to be seen which team will rise to the occasion.

Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola renew hostilities

Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino are undoubtedly two of the best managers in the world at the moment. The pair have met several times in the Premier League and in Europe.

The last time the duo faced off in the Champions League was in 2019 when Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur eliminated Guardiola’s Manchester City in the quarter-finals after a thrilling 4-4 draw on aggregate.

Pochettino said ahead of the game, as quoted by the BBC:

"It's not a personal battle, it's not a personal game. It's a battle between two very good teams.”
"When you talk about Pep Guardiola, you are talking about one of the best coaches in the world, if not the best. I admire Pep not only for the titles but the legacy that he is building in football."

Guardiola also believes the clash will be an entertaining spectacle and expects a high-quality game from both teams. The Manchester City boss said, as quoted by Goal:

“We maybe don’t have a single player who is capable to win a game all on his own like Messi, Ronaldo, Mbappé or Neymar."
"But the average level of my players is so high that no replacement throws the team off balance. When people ask me to speak about players, about their qualities, I always respond with the same thing: you just have to watch. Turn your TV on and enjoy.”

A lot has changed since Pochettino and Guardiola last faced each other, and there’s all to play for when they renew hostilities on Wednesday.

Published 28 Apr 2021
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