Football

Man City have no fear in Europe, says Guardiola

Citizens' 7-0 demolition of Schalke has given manager Pep belief

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City don't fear any team in the Champions League after they powered into the quarter-finals with a 7-0 rout of hapless Schalke 04 yesterday morning (Singapore time).

City had snatched two late goals to win the first leg 3-2 and they made the most of that fightback with a ruthless demolition job at the Etihad Stadium to clinch a 10-2 last-16 aggregate victory.

Sergio Aguero's penalty opened the scoring in the 35th minute and the Argentine forward netted again soon before Leroy Sane, who also contributed three assists, struck against his former club.

Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus all scored after the interval to complete City's biggest home win in the Champions League.

Guardiola's side, who lifted the League Cup last month, remain on course for an unprecedented quadruple, sitting one point ahead of Liverpool at the top of the English Premier League before this Sunday morning's FA Cup quarter-final at Swansea.

The Citizens have won 17 of their last 19 matches in all competitions, and won nine and drawn one of their last 10 and have a momentum that could carry them to the Champions League final in Madrid.

"We are delighted to be in the quarter-finals," Guardiola said.

"After the first goal, we played at a good level. We were serious and we did the job.

"In the last 15 minutes of the first half and in the second half, we were incredible. We were playing quick, dynamic in the transitions and we scored goals.

"I know Schalke are in a tough period but, even in that situation, you have to do your job."

This emphatic victory was the joint-biggest ever Champions League knockout stage win, but won't linger long in the memory given Schalke's lack of resistence.

Twice a Champions League winner as Barcelona boss, Guardiola claimed this week that City are "teenagers" in the competition compared to the more established European powerhouses. They have never won the Champions League, with their best performance a semi-final appearance in 2016 under Guardiola's predecessor Manuel Pellegrini.

But City are one of the favourites to claim the trophy after Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain crashed out and, on this evidence, Guardiola's players are up for the challenge of showing they are more mature than he believes.

"When I say we are a teenager team, it doesn't mean we are not going to fight," Guardiola said.

"The 'teenagers' have passion and desire, they are not scared. We are going to try.

"I won it twice, but I lost seven times. People say you have to win (the trophy) but, in one game, you can lose against these incredible top sides. We will see how far we will get."

Amid reports he is in danger of being sacked, Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco admitted it was the worst result of his reign.

"I'm extremely disappointed. We fell apart. It was the worst we've had here since I was coach," he said.

"Of course it hurts. It's difficult when you lose 7-0 to stand here. The next couple of weeks are going to be difficult." - AFP, REUTERS

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