LONDON: The threat of Paris St Germain forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe can give opposition managers sleepless nights, said Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, adding his side must find a way to stop the duo in Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal first leg.
City, who are looking to win Europe’s elite club competition for the first time, take on a PSG side that boasts a wealth of attacking talent, and Guardiola said there are no effective defensive strategies against the French champions.
“They’re too good. I tried to sleep well last night and that was when I wasn’t thinking of them,” Guardiola told reporters on the eve of the clash.
“That’s the reality. They’re top players. That’s why they play in that team with the quality they have. We’re ready to try to stop them, defend as a team, play good football and try to score goals.”
Guardiola first faced Neymar when the Brazil forward was playing for Santos against his Barcelona side in the 2011 Club World Cup.
“I remember when I saw some clips of Santos in that era and I said to the (Barcelona) players, ‘This is the king of Santos’, and all the players were open-mouthed. They said, ‘Oh my God, what a player.’ He’s a joy to watch as a spectator,” he said.
“He has Brazil on his shoulders, the No 10 shirt of Brazil isn’t easy to wear.”
Neymar went on to play for Barcelona before PSG smashed the world record transfer fee when they spent €222 million in 2017 to bring him to Paris.
“I’m pretty sure if he had stayed in Barca they would have won two, three more Champions Leagues. With Neymar, (Lionel) Messi and (Luis) Suarez, the best three I’ve seen,” Guardiola said.