Man City boss Pep Guardiola says his side are still not strong enough at either end of the field to win the Champions League for the first time.
Man City are the bookmakers’ top picks to at long last win of the greatest prize in European football after over a time of huge investment from the club’s Abu Dhabi owners and in Guardiola’s fourth season in control.
In any case, the Catalan, who has won the Champions League twice as a coach and once as a player at Barcelona, figures City will be rebuffed in the last phases of the challenge in the event that they proceed with the conflicting structure they have demonstrated so far in the Premier League this season.
“We miss a lot of chances in the final third and we have to do that, to be clinical. When the people say about the Champions League being the target, we are still not ready,” said Guardiola.
Man City have won their opening two Champions League matches and host Atalanta at the Etihad on Tuesday.
“In this competition you have to be strong in the boxes and this season we are not incredibly strong in the boxes. Of course we have time,” Guardiola said.
Man City have been plagued by wounds in resistance and endured stun thrashings to Norwich and Wolves in their opening nine Premier League games.
Pep Guardiola, however, accepts the onus is his ally to attack well as a unit to veil any cautious failings.
“When you play good, you defend less. When our build-up is bad, when you don’t play good, you concede a lot,” Guardiola added.
“What happens when we make our incredible, fluid game from the build-up? We concede few (chances). When our build-up is wrong, we make mistakes in the first pass, we are nervous like what happened against Wolves…we concede a lot.
“That’s why it’s related. It’s not that you play well in one department and it’s enough. When our pressing is high, is intense, we concede really few (chances).”
The Man City boss will have more defenders to choose from for the visit of the Italians in midweek with Nicolas Otamendi and Kyle Walker coming back to training after missing Saturday’s 2-0 win at Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, John Stones may possibly make his first start in five weeks.