Pep Guardiola: We are not yet ready to win Champions League
Man City boss Pep Guardiola feels his team must be more clinical in attack and defence if they are to stake a claim for top football honour
Manchester: Man City manager Pep Guardiola said the English champions are still not strong enough to count themselves as contenders for a maiden Champions League. City are the bookmakers' favourites to win European football's biggest prize after over a decade of huge investment from the club's Abu Dhabi owners and in Guardiola's fourth season in charge.
However, the Catalan, who has won the Champions League twice as manager and once as a player at Barcelona, thinks City will be punished in the latter stages of the competition if they continue their inconsistent English Premiership form.
"We miss a lot of chances in the final third and we have to do that [better], to be clinical. When people talk about the Champions League being the target, we are still not ready," said Guardiola, whose side have won their opening two Champions League games and host Atalanta at the Etihad tonight. "In this competition you have to be strong in the boxes and this season we are not strong there. Of course, we have time."
City have been beset by injuries in defence and suffered shock defeats to Norwich and Wolves in their opening nine EPL games. Guardiola said the onus is on the attackers to mask any defensive failings. "When you play good, you defend less. When our build-up is bad, you concede a lot. When our build-up is wrong, we make mistakes.
That's why it's related," said Guardiola who will have defenders Nicolas Otamendi and Kyle Walker back after missing Saturday's 2-0 win at Crystal Palace, while John Stones could make his first start in five weeks.
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