After their 2-nil win over Everton in Premier League action on Saturday Manchester City’s focus now shifts to their UEFA Champions League defence. Pep Guardiola’s side has begun preparations for their upcoming Champions League Round of 16 tie against FC Copenhagen.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 11, 2024
While the tie on paper appears a formality for Manchester City to progress it is anything but a sure thing. FC Copenhagen progressed to the Round of 16 from a group that included Bayern Munich, Galatasaray and Manchester United. The world champions also drew with FC Copenhagen nil all at the Parken Stadium during their 22/23 UEFA Champions League campaign. FC Copenhagen is more than capable of springing an upset and is a formidable opponent at home. They beat Manchester United and Galatasaray at the Parken Stadium this campaign. Those wins helped lay the foundation for them to progress to the round of 16 of this season’s Champions League.
Under manager Jacob Neestrup the Danish side will be keen to pick up a famous result at home. Players such as Diogo Goncalves, Mohamad Elyounouusi and Roony Bardghji will be eager to make an impression against the reigning European champions.
Pep Guardiola knows a tricky game awaits
City manager Pep Guardiola knows his side will face a tricky first leg in Denmark. Speaking after his team’s win over Everton Guardiola said: “They had a group against Bayern Munich, United, Galatasaray, one of the toughest groups and they went through. We played two years ago and could not win there. Today I relax. But tomorrow I am going to start to watch them carefully. I will listen to my staff and see what they saw.”
As Manchester City’s focus shifts to their Champions League defence, Guardiola knows his team will be a formidable opponent for anyone in the competition. He added: “We won all the games in the Champions League and now we are there. The team had the feeling, they still want it. As much they want it, it will be a problem for the opponents, that’s for sure.”
A tricky first leg awaits Manchester City at the Parken Stadium. The European champions will need to be at their best to come away with a positive result before the second leg at the Etihad Stadium. FC Copenhagen will be keen to impress on the big stage so Manchester City’s focus will need to be squarely on their Danish opponents.
While on paper it would appear a formality for Manchester City to progress to the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League they will have to do the work over two legs against FC Copenhagen before they can contemplate the next stage of their UEFA Champions League defence.