Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola faces a defensive crisis for the Real Madrid clash.
The Premier League leaders host Los Blancos on Tuesday night but Guardiola admits he faces a huge dilemma of who will play at right-back. Kyle Walker and John Stones will be given until the last minute to prove their fitness while Joao Cancelo is serving a European suspension.
That means Manchester City could be without a recognized senior right-back for the visit of the La Liga leaders, whose left-winger Vinicius Junior is in sparkling form.
Following City’s 5-1 win over Watford at the weekend, Guardiola speculated that forward Gabriel Jesus could plug the gap. However, he dismissed that idea in his pre-match conference ahead of Tuesday’s clash.
As per the MEN, the Spaniard said:
“He’s not going to play right back. I express that he could. Vinicius, Gabriel could be a good battle but he won’t play there. Maybe for a few minutes but no.”
Walker will almost certainly be out as he has not trained since suffering a twisted ankle in his side’s fiery quarter-final second leg at Atletico Madrid. His England teammate Stones may be asked to play through the pain barrier to fill in on the right side of the defense.
Guardiola discusses Manchester City’s semi-final expectations against Real Madrid
Having tasted defeat in last season’s final in Porto against Premier League rivals Chelsea, the Sky Blues will be more determined than ever to secure the club’s first-ever European Cup.
Guardiola is well aware of the expectations surrounding his team, with the 51-year-old himself failing to win Europe’s elite club competition since 2011. When asked if reaching another semi-final was good enough for his current side, the Barcelona legend said:
“As far as being manager, personally my accomplishment will never be accomplished, I’ll have another dream to reach. We decide together with the club, everyone says good, bad, accomplished or not. Up to you, not a problem, will be other players in the future and I try to do it again.” “Nothing changed in the years I won it or didn’t win it. I try to do my best, bring the team awareness we can do it. We can beat an opponent like Madrid, stick together. This is the motive.”