Guardiola vows he won’t ‘overthink’ team selection for second leg

Pep Guardiola has joked that he will not “overthink” his team selection for Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid.

City and Real are locked level on aggregate following their 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Bernabeu.

Guardiola’s side have reached at least the semi-final stage of the competition in each of the past three seasons but are still yet to win the trophy, having lost out to Real in last year’s semi-final in dramatic circumstances as Rodrygo’s late double followed by a Karim Benzema extra-time winner ensured Madrid progressed.

The City boss has previously come in for criticism for his surprise team selections in the Champions League, including in their final against Chelsea in 2021 where he opted to play without a recognised striker or holding midfielder.

But Guardiola joked that he does not have any big surprises planned for their crucial game on Wednesday.

“It’s nothing special,” he said.

“I’m not overthinking tomorrow, don’t worry guys.

“Nothing differently to what we have done in the past. Just for our game to be more fluid and play a little bit better knowing that, of course, our opponents always have weapons.”

City will face either AC Milan or Inter Milan in the final should they progress beyond Real Madrid, and Guardiola says he would be happy if his team performed in the same way as last year’s semi-final while also claiming that he does not need to win this competition with the club to cement his legacy.

“I would like to have the game we had last season here,” he said.

“I would sign right now for the way we played, but I think it’s not going to happen.

“Our legacy is exceptional already. We have been here many times already.

“We’re not stupid to not know how important tomorrow’s game is. It’s maybe one of the most important games since we are together here.

“We cannot deny that, for the competition, the rival and for many things.”

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