Pep Guardiola: ‘I have all the respect for Arsenal on the pitch – but not much

Cas are due to publish their full written findings on the case this week, providing there are no objections by City or Uefa, as Guardiola looks ahead to the second leg of City’s Champions League Round of 16 tie against Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on August 7.

Guardiola will have almost a fortnight to prepare for the game and he said he would use that time to scrutinise Real’s performances since lockdown, as well as their games without captain Sergio Ramos this season, given that the defender will be suspended following his red card in the first leg.

Ramos has missed only six of Real’s matches all season, five of which the newly crowned Spanish champions won, but he was absent in the 3-0 Champions League away defeat to Paris St-Germain last September, also due to suspension. 

“We are going in a specific way to play against Real Madrid, we are going to try to maintain our rhythm in our training sessions, which I don’t have doubts will happen,” Guardiola said.

“We are going to remember what Madrid is, we’re going to see the games they’ve played since lockdown and they’re not going to play with Sergio Ramos so we’re going to see how [Eder] Militao and [Raphael] Varane play together in the games.

“We are going to prepare for the game with the advantage that we have a little bit more time to prepare specific things about them.”

Having never spent longer than four seasons at one club, Guardiola said he faced a “challenge to see if we can maintain the levels that we have in the previous seasons” but believes new signings in the transfer market will inject some freshness into his squad next term.

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