Manchester City have made their hectic schedule a little easier following a 4-0 victory over Basel which will most likely make the second-leg of the encounter a simple formality.
Manchester City continues to battle on all fronts in a season that could prove to be the English side’s very best. Guardiola’s newly assembled City is dominating the Premier League and looking to mount a serious challenge for the Champions League trophy.
Manchester City have now won 34 games in all competitions this season. ????????????
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 13, 2018
The initial draw in the first knock-out stage of the competition proved to be a lucky one for City, who faced Basel, with the first leg played on Swiss soil. Ilkay Gundogan scored twice, while Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero scored one each. Victory was never in much doubt throughout the 90 minutes and now neither is the qualification.
Manager Pep Guardiola praised the team’s efficiency, choosing to view the bigger picture, which includes preparing for games in England, as well as abroad.
“It’s so important. Of course we will be focused against Basel but with the result… Arsenal and Chelsea, it will be so important to be focused there and make another step to try to be close to the Premier League.”
“We didn’t have this in mind. From my experience in the Champions League, when you play the last 16 always you reserve [judgement] until the second game. But we were clinical, we played good. I think we played in the same level as over the last period.”
Ilkay Gundogan turned out to be Manchester City’s biggest asset against Basel and his performance did not pass unnoticed. German national team coach Joachim Low attended the game. With the World Cup tournament getting nearer, the 27-year-old midfielder is likely to be considered for a call-up to the prestigious tournament.
“You need to ask him [about my performance] but I hope he enjoyed it. The most important thing for me is a good performance and a good result. The result was maybe perfect but I think in the way we played there are plenty of things to improve. This is the Champions League; it’s always tough, it’s always difficult. It seems like a comfortable win, but the game was quite intense,” the midfielder said.
Manchester City is enjoying great results in all competitions this season. Managerial staff will hope for the team to remain generally injury free as they move into the last stages of the current campaign. Guardiola’s side are 16 points ahead of second place Manchester United in the EPL and active in three other competitions.