Football

Pep wary of Falcao's free-scoring Monaco

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is keenly aware of the danger free-scoring Monaco pose when the two teams meet in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Monaco have been rampant this season, powering to the Ligue 1 summit with a tally of 76 goals that is unsurpassed in Europe's five major leagues.

A revitalised Radamel Falcao leads the scoring charts for Leonardo Jardim's side, and Guardiola admitted that his players need to be wary of the Colombia international's return to form.

"I am really impressed how good Monaco are," said Guardiola.

"They are killers in the box. Both holding midfielders are intelligent, physical, strong.

"We have to go to the gym in the next days!

"Falcao is a good professional, a nice guy, I am happy he is back and scoring goals. The way Monaco play is perfect for him."

SCOUTING MISSION

Guardiola and his assistant Mikel Arteta watched Monaco's game at Paris St Germain last month, when a 92nd-minute equaliser from Bernardo Silva rescued a 1-1 draw.

Another Silva equaliser secured another 1-1 draw at Bastia last Friday.

Monaco have averaged 2.92 goals per league game, scoring four or more on no fewer than 10 occasions, and have already prevailed on English soil, winning 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur in the group stage.

The trip to Manchester will have special significance for Falcao, who has rediscovered his shooting boots after two dismal years on loan with Manchester United and Chelsea.

The 31-year-old Colombian may no longer be like the force of his Porto and Atletico Madrid days, but, aided by a customised playing schedule, he has scored 22 goals in just 28 games for Monaco.

"I manage him differently to the others," said Jardim.

"Because he's a top-level player. I said at the start of the season that I was sure he'd succeed. Quality is permanent." - WIRE SERVICES

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