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‘Critics will kill Man City if we lose to Monaco’

Guardiola fears Monaco’s ‘killer’ strikers

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants his players to embrace the pressure of their Champions League last-16 tie against Monaco – even though he knows the club’s critics will “kill them” if they do not progress.

Ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola has won the competition twice as a coach, and never failed to reach the semi-finals in seven attempts.

“To be here is not easy,” he said.

“I want to convince the players to enjoy that moment. It is beautiful.”

While Guardiola’s previous two employers have been European champions 10 times between them, City reached their first semi-final last season and have progressed to the knockout round only four times.

“People can think Manchester City have to be here but a lot of big clubs are not here,” said the 46-year-old. “We are lucky guys.

“Our recent history is quite good but over the long history, Manchester City was not here for a long time.

“All of Europe will watch us, to analyse us, to kill us if we don’t win or say how good we are if we do.”

De Bruyne ‘doing well’ despite fewer goals

De Bruyne has scored 13 fewer goals this season than he managed in the previous campaign

City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne goes into the game having scored five goals in 32 appearances for the club this season.

Last term – his debut campaign having joined from Wolfsburg for a club-record £55m in August 2015 – he scored 18 goals in all competitions.

The 25-year-old Belgian says he is not interested in the figures because he is “playing better” this season.

“It doesn’t bother me at all that I haven’t scored as often,” he said. “Not everyone sees I am playing lower on the pitch.

“I know how well I am doing for the team and if we can win a title, I will be very happy.”

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