Manchester City need “two exceptional games” to overcome Real Madrid

Manchester City need “two exceptional games” to overcome Real Madrid and reach the Champions League final, said City boss Pep Guardiola.

Premier League leaders City take on La Liga leaders Real in the first leg of the semi-final at home on Tuesday.

Guardiola’s side lost 1-0 to Chelsea in their first Champions League final last season, while Real have been European champions 13 times.

“It is not necessary to say how good Real Madrid are,” said Guardiola.

“If we have to compete with their history, we don’t have any chance. The history is there, we can’t change it, but it’s 11 against 11 with one ball moving.

“We will try to be ourselves, compete well. We need to play two exceptional games to reach the final.”

Guardiola will make late decisions on the fitness of England defenders John Stones and Kyle Walker, who are both doubts because of injuries.

This is the third time in seven seasons that City have reached the last four, while Real are in the semi-finals for the 10th occasion in 12 years and aiming to win the tournament for the first time since they beat Liverpool 3-1 in the 2018 final.

“It’s an honour to be here in the semi-finals against Real Madrid,” added Guardiola. “They’ve been here many times, we have in recent years.”

City, who beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 on aggregate over two legs in the quarter-final, are one point ahead of Liverpool with five Premier League games to go, while Real have a 15-point La Liga advantage over Barcelona and only need one more point to be Spanish champions.

The second leg of this semi-final will be played at the Bernabeu on 4 May with the final in Paris on 28 May. Liverpool and Spanish side Villarreal contest the other semi-final, with the first leg at Anfield on Wednesday.

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