Toney admits disappointment at World Cup snub after sinking Manchester City | Manchester City

Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City failed to control Ivan Toney, whose two goals gave Brentford victory over the champions less than 48 hours after he missed the cut for Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad.

City’s reverse was a first in the Premier League at home since February, ending a 20-match run, and leaves Guardiola’s side in second place on 32 points before the break for Qatar.

“The better team won – Toney’s exceptional for them,” he said. “We had a lot of problems. We could not make a high press because they did not allow us – long balls from the keeper to the striker and in this process we could not win any balls because when Toney flicks the ball on he creates problems.

“He’s very good, he’s able to win [duels] with all the central defenders, we were not able to control this aspect. Every time a centre-back jumped they suffer.”

Toney, who has 10 league goals this season, was asked about missing out on the World Cup. “It’s disappointing but, listen, I know what I’m capable of and I won’t let it put me down. I just keep going and keep doing well for Brentford.”

The 26-year-old insisted Southgate’s decision had not affected his approach to the game. “The motivation is the boys in the dressing room and the fans, as you can see,” he said.

A delighted Thomas Frank said: “He should have scored five goals – he had five good chances: one in [the] first half, then he scored then he missed one from angle, scored a goal and then missed the last one. Honestly, what a player.

“Gareth picked the squad he believes in but I hope he thinks about Ivan if there is an injury. He proved it today against the best team in the world. Of course him and I both think he should be there but we’re looking from our side and Gareth from the other side and we don’t know who’s right.

“Ivan has a very good family around him. I’ve known him for so long, I have no doubt he’ll come back stronger. I showed my empathy [to him].”

Frank described Brentford’s win as the best in their history. “Maybe this is the single best result. It’s massive. For the fans, I’m so happy we’ve created another unbelievably magic moment for them. The dressing room were fantastic scenes.

“We are the bus stop in Hounslow [as Bees fans sing] against the best team in the world.”

‘The results help’: Pep Guardiola expects Manchester City tenure to be his longest | Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has said he cannot imagine staying at another club for as long as he has been at Manchester City as he weighs up whether to extend his contract beyond this season.

“Stay in another place for seven years?” he said. “No, I don’t think so. It is difficult to find what I have here as a manager. To be a manager for a long time you need to be so supported. The results help a lot; that is undeniable.

“In this world they sack you, they fire you, we know that. But at big clubs the part of the success of the manager is the chairman, the sporting director especially, and all the people here. It [this support] goes to the media, fans and players. It shows stability. This is why I think only in a few clubs this can happen.”

Asked whether he would discuss a new contract when taking a break during the World Cup, Guardiola said: “I don’t talk about that. Everything is under control, it’s perfect, the decision will be made together with the club the moment it has to be made. I said many times, I had the feeling that both the club and myself are happy to be together.

“It’s not the moment [for this]. Brentford is the only important thing right now. When we have time, when we feel it is the right moment, both sides, we take a decision.”

Guardiola was clear regarding what still motivates him at City after claiming nine major trophies since taking over in 2016. “Having fun,” he said. “There are stressful moments and bad moments – it’s not all the time that you win, all the time you’re happy and all the time it works like you’re thinking [hoping]. But it’s not about achievements after six or seven years, it’s seeing you are comfortable being here.”

Erling Haaland faces a fitness test on his ankle injury before Brentford’s visit for Saturday’s early game.

‘I am so jealous’: Guardiola sarcastically rebuffs Haaland claim by Ibrahimovic | Manchester City

Pep Guardiola has sarcastically dismissed Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s claim that ego could prevent the Manchester City manager from making Erling Haaland even better.

Haaland has begun superbly at City, scoring 22 goals in 15 appearances, yet Guardiola believes the striker can improve. Ibrahimovic has a long-running feud with the Catalan that dates to their clashing at Barcelona in the 2009-10 season.

Guardiola was asked about Ibrahimovic’s claim regarding his ego. “He is right, he is completely right,” the manager said. “In this club, in this team, my ego is beyond every other person, every player. I don’t like it when Erling scores three goals, and all the highlights are for him. I am so jealous! Honestly, so jealous!

“I said: ‘Erling, please no more goals otherwise [newspapers] won’t talk about me, and just about me.’ He is right, he knows me perfectly. He can write another book.”

Asked whether he was being sarcastic, Guardiola said: “No, I am right in what I am saying. My ego is [through the roof].”

This week Ibrahimovic told Canal+: “Is Guardiola able to improve him? That depends on the ego that Guardiola has. If he allows himself to be bigger than Haaland or not. He didn’t allow me or the others to be as big.”

Haaland has missed his side’s past two games with a foot problem but returned to training on Thursday in advance of Fulham’s visit on Saturday. “He’s much better,” Guardiola said. “We will decide today [Friday]. Train this afternoon and will see. It will depend on himself, his opinion and doctor’s opinion – if he is good for 90 minutes or less.”

City are second with 29 points and Guardiola named the leaders, Arsenal, plus Tottenham, Chelsea, Newcastle, Manchester United and Liverpool as other title contenders.

Of Eddie Howe’s Newcastle side he said: “They have incredible physicality to the way they play and are playing one game a week. They are not playing in Europe and when this happens that’s a big advantage when you arrive in the last months. They have a good manager, top-class players, they have experienced ones – I imagine they are going to stay there for a long time.”

Walker and Phillips ‘optimistic’ over World Cup but may not play before | Manchester City

Pep Guardiola has confirmed Kyle Walker will not play for Manchester City before the World Cup and that Kalvin Phillips has only an outside chance of doing so, but said each was optimistic of being fit for England should Gareth Southgate name them in his 26-man squad.

Walker has been out with a groin problem since 2 October, and Phillips’s shoulder injury was sustained on 14 September. Southgate considers them automatic choices when fit and with Chelsea’s Reece James, another of his preferred right-backs, out until after the group stage, the manager faces a dilemma regarding how many players not 100% he can take to Qatar.

Guardiola said of Walker, who can play in central defence as well as at right-back, and Phillips, a midfielder: “They are better, I think they are getting better, Kalvin especially, but they are out. Until after the World Cup, they will not be ready [for City].”

The manager was then brighter regarding Phillips. “He said he feels really well,” Guardiola said. “His mobility in the shoulder is perfect. He’s started to train in contact with the ball. He has to avoid contact with teammates but he’s really well. We’re surprised at how quick his development [has been].

“If he’s fit then I believe he can play [at the World Cup]. If he’s ready he can maybe take minutes [for City before] but I don’t know right now. We’ll see.”

Southgate is due to name his squad on 10 November, two days before City’s final pre-World Cup fixture. Guardiola, asked about Phillips’s and Walker’s mood, said: “They are in a positive way, they are optimistic, they are ready. I think they are in touch with Gareth. The managers of the national team, maybe they have more info. Hopefully they can get it and be ready to be selected at the end. It’s a question for the national team.”

Erling Haaland was replaced at half-time of Tuesday’s draw at Borussia Dortmund after feeling unwell. Regarding the striker’s availability for Saturday’s trip to Leicester, Guardiola said: “He feels better but we have training this [Friday] afternoon. We will assess in a few hours. We will see how he is feeling, if he is fit.”

‘The whole package’: Pep Guardiola hails Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham | Champions League

Pep Guardiola has called the Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham the “whole package” but suggested the player’s development might have been stifled if he had stayed in England.

The 19-year-old scored against Manchester City in their past two meetings with Dortmund, albeit in losing causes, and will be out to cause more problems in their Champions League game on Tuesday.

Bellingham followed the path of Jadon Sancho, who turned down a new City contract to join Dortmund in 2017, when he left his boyhood club Birmingham two years ago. But the decision has paid off handsomely thanks to the club’s policy of promoting youth.

Guardiola, who has meticulously guided Phil Foden’s development at City, suggested Bellingham would not have got the same opportunities in the Premier League. “Borussia Dortmund is the perfect place for young talent to come,” he said.

“Maybe if Jude Bellingham was in England he would go to City, United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham, maybe he would not get the minutes. The best thing for a young player to be better is to play minutes.

“He was 17 when he arrived but it was not just about his quality, how he was leading, his kicking, going to the referee. This guy was something special in terms of his mentality. Now he is 19 and he is already one of the captains. The quality, everybody knows it. The whole package is really good.”

‘We have to stop him’: Dortmund wary of former striker Erling Haaland – video

Inevitably Erling Haaland’s return to Dortmund has dominated the build-up and City’s Rúben Dias was clear about the challenge the 6ft 5in Norwegian poses.

“When you talk about the relationship between striker and defender it’s all about the margins,” Dias said. “Some guys, if it’s a 50-50 against them, you know you can win [the duel]. With other guys you need it to be 60-40 in your favour and at the top level 70-30. Erling, you need it to be 100 to you because if you go to 99 with him he can do something. He’s that kind of striker.”

With less than a month to go to the World Cup several players will have one eye on Qatar, but not Haaland as Norway have not qualified. After scheduled friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Finland next month he can enjoy a long rest – potentially a frightening thought if he comes back fresher than the defenders he is facing.

“He will be in Marbella for sure, or in Norway,” Guardiola said. “It depends on how he behaves in Marbella as to how good he is for the second half of the season. Hopefully he doesn’t drink much, eat much and comes back fit and then he can be perfect for the second half of the league.

“But this is the first time in our life [a winter World Cup] is going to happen and we don’t know how people are going to come back. Maybe some players will come back incredibly happy, some maybe depressed if they get eliminated in the knockout stages, some have more holidays.

“We have seen how many injuries there are with this insane calendar. We will see when they come back, we will smell it, then the routine on a daily basis will adapt.”

Pep Guardiola apologises for Manchester City fans’ chants at Anfield | Manchester City

Pep Guardiola has apologised for chants about the Hillsborough and Heysel disasters from Manchester City supporters during their loss to Liverpool last Sunday but says he did not hear them.

The match at Anfield was marred by the songs from the away end and City fans scrawling graffiti inside the stadium in relation to the disasters. City had addressed neither of these matters publicly since the match.

“I didn’t hear the chant,” Guardiola said. “If it’s happened I’m so sorry – it doesn’t represent what we are as a team and a club. But don’t worry, we can behave perfectly [from] our mistakes. Not a problem.”

Objects were thrown at the City bus at Anfield, resulting in a damaged windscreen. Liverpool were fined €20,000 by Uefa in 2018 for a similar incident before a Champions League quarter-final. Also this week there were accusations – made anonymously – that Jürgen Klopp had stoked the fires with pre-match comments that were alleged to be xenophobic. Liverpool’s manager rejected those claims.

Guardiola, asked whether the relationship between the two clubs had become toxic, responded: “I don’t think so. From our side, I’m pretty sure it hasn’t.”

Liverpool remain seven points behind City but Guardiola thought before last weekend’s meeting that Klopp’s side would rival them for the title, despite the German saying they were out of the race after a poor start. “It looks like with my statement I believe more in the Liverpool team than their manager,” Guardiola said.

After City’s midweek trip to the league leaders Arsenal was postponed, they return to action against Brighton on Saturday lunchtime looking to close the gap to one point. It is the first of seven games City play before the World Cup. England’s Kyle Walker is a doubt for the tournament with an injury, and John Stones and Kalvin Phillips are returning to full fitness. Guardiola will not pick anyone he fears is protecting himself before Qatar 2022 starts in a month.

“He will not play if I smell this,” Guardiola said. “I’m really good at smelling this. Tactics not, but smelling I’m really good. And what is going to happen is that they are not going to play because they will get injured when they are not ready. When you are focused, you don’t get injured. When you are distracted is when you get injured.”

This is Anfield? This is Manchester City’s vulnerability to the counter, actually | Manchester City

Night. The man looks back over his shoulder, mouth open in horror. Too numb to offer more than token resistance, he acquiesces as his assistant ushers him away. “Forget it, Pep,” he says, “It’s Chinatown.” Streetlights flare as the camera pans back. A policeman shouts. As sirens wail, a mournful saxophone tremors through the darkness. It’s one of the great endings: our hero has done what he can, but this is a place where he cannot win, a place governed by forces far stronger than him, a place with its own laws. This is Anfield.

On Sunday, after Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat by Liverpool, Pep Guardiola repeated the phrase over and over: “This is Anfield.” He said it to the written press. He said it to the radio. He said it to Sky and he said it to the BBC. “This is Anfield.” And his point was clear: you cannot win here. Certainly he struggles: Guardiola has won once at Anfield, but that was during lockdown when the stands were empty. On the seven occasions he has led a team there with fans, Guardiola has managed two draws and five defeats.

But this was not a tribute to the inspirational qualities of the Kop. Rather the implication, given he kept uttering the phrase in relation to the controversy surrounding Liverpool’s goal, was that referees are influenced at Anfield – which didn’t make a huge amount of sense given that the critical part of the decision had been given by the VAR official at Stockley Park, and that it was correct.

The line parroted by a number of City players was that Anthony Taylor had let a lot go. He had pursued this season’s Premier League guidelines on encouraging a more robust style of football, allowing moments of contact. Why then, in this instance, make an exception? Why not allow this contact?

To which there are two obvious responses. First, that to allow some contact is not allow all contact and that, given the way VAR is employed, a stricter interpretation is always likely in the immediate buildup to a goal. And second, that a pull on the shirt is not a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge, it’s not two players grappling for the ball, it’s not a slight brush of the leg as a tackle comes in. A shirt pull is never a legitimate way of winning the ball and, more than that, it shows up very clearly on video.

Erling Haaland grabbed Fabinho’s shirt and that is a foul. It doesn’t matter that Fabinho may have been toppling anyway. It doesn’t matter that Taylor’s view was obscured. It doesn’t matter that sometimes you’ll get away with that sort of thing. It was a foul – and so, the officials later said, was the subsequent Haaland challenge on Alisson: even had the pull on Fabinho not been penalised, the goal would have been ruled out. And amid all the City hysteria, it’s perhaps worth pointing out that the whole move began with a goal-kick that should have been a Liverpool corner.

Fabinho falls after his shirt is pulled by Erling Haaland – leading to Manchester City’s goal being disallowed.
Fabinho falls after his shirt is pulled by Erling Haaland – leading to Manchester City’s goal being disallowed. Photograph: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC/Getty Images

It was a day of frenzied touchline behaviour. Jürgen Klopp also found himself enraged by the refereeing and that the incident that led to his red card was the third foul on Mohamed Salah to be ignored does not excuse his eruption. And nor, of course, is there any excusing the coins reportedly thrown by fans at Guardiola. That Klopp should serve a touchline ban and that any missile-throwers should be prosecuted is obvious.

But in terms of the season as a whole, it was Guardiola’s behaviour that fascinated. This has been a rivalry largely unsullied by the sort of psychological press-conference warfare that characterised his feud with José Mourinho in Spain. This is still, clearly, a long way from that. But Guardiola seemed on edge from the frosty pre-match handshake, long before his gestures to the crowd after Phil Foden’s goal had been ruled out.

Perhaps that was just the Anfield factor, but it was hard not to wonder whether Klopp’s comments on Friday about the long-term impossibility of competing with state projects had touched a nerve, less perhaps in terms of a pang of conscience about the nature and purpose of the government funding his project, than the suggestion that he is playing the Premier League on an easier mode.

And it was hard not to see this season’s first spin of Guardiola’s tactical kaleidoscope in that context. Gone were the slight tweaks to the usual 4-3-3 and here instead was a wholly unexpected shape, with João Cancelo playing high on the right and Phil Foden dropping relatively deep on the left, a position that meant he was never able to expose James Milner at right-back in the way he had in the equivalent fixture last season.

Pep Guardiola watches on at Anfield as his Manchester City team head for defeat.
Pep Guardiola watches on at Anfield as his Manchester City team head for defeat. Photograph: Jon Super/AP

If the aim, by offering a de facto back three, was to shore up City’s defences against the counter – a vulnerability the greater verticality required to service Haaland has heightened – it failed: Salah had already been denied in a one-on-one when he scored, and Darwin Núñez led two late breakaways.

That there were defensive weaknesses beyond Haaland’s remarkable goals return had been exposed by Newcastle and Crystal Palace. But defeat at Anfield hinted at other flaws. Those issues against the counter are probably more a factor in the latter stages of European competition than the Premier League but, if Guardiola is feeling the pressure, if this is more than an Anfield issue, it may be as well for City that this week’s scheduled game against the leaders Arsenal has been rearranged. Perhaps it’s just Anfield, but perhaps it’s more than that.

‘This is Anfield’: Guardiola rages after VAR chalks off Manchester City goal | Premier League

Pep Guardiola raged at the disallowing of a Phil Foden goal at Liverpool with the scoreline level at 0-0, saying: “This is Anfield.”

The Manchester City manager, who said he was pelted with coins by home supporters behind him, later saw Mohamed Salah score the only goal of a pulsating game which also featured a red card for the Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp.

Foden’s effort was ruled out after VAR advice for a shirt pull in the build-up by Erling Haaland on Fabinho. Haaland then worked the ball free of Alisson, even though the goalkeeper appeared to have two hands on it.

When asked about the decision, Guardiola replied: “This is Anfield. The referee spoke with my assistant coaches and said: ‘I’m not going to make fouls and I will be clear.’ All game it was play on and play on and play on. Except the goal [for Foden]. The ref can decide: ‘I’m going to whistle all the actions,’ but he decided not to do it and then after he did it. When we scored a goal it was not play on. This is the reality.

“We didn’t lose the game for that because nobody knows what would have happened but we had momentum and control and scored a goal. We could not have it and then after we lost by a mistake [by João Cancelo for the Salah goal].”

Guardiola turned to sarcastically conduct the celebrations of the Liverpool fans after the VAR intervention. “They shouted, we shout more,” he said. “Otherwise, here in this stadium, you go. The game was calm and then after the goal was disallowed and after they scored a goal, it was the real Anfield.”

On the coin throwing, Guardiola said: “Next time they will do it better. They didn’t get me. They tried but didn’t get me. They got it at the [team] coach years ago [before a Champions League tie] but not this time.”

Klopp apologised to Guardiola for the coin throwing, while the club pledged to issue lifetime bans from Anfield to anyone found guilty.

The Liverpool manager admitted he was not proud of himself for the red card; he snapped after there was no whistle for a Bernardo Silva challenge on Salah in the 86th minute.

“My fault, I went over the top,” Klopp said. “I know myself, I am 55 and I deserve a red card. I lost it in that moment and it is not OK. But as an excuse, how on earth can you miss that foul [by Silva]? Anthony Taylor just let things run and I know Pep said that Anfield made the VAR decision. But it was a foul on Fabinho and Alisson had two hands on the ball. So three situations [with the Silva challenge] where he should have whistled.”

Salah shines as Klopp earns tactical triumph amid his touchline theatrics | Premier League

Towards the end of this thrilling, slightly wild afternoon at Anfield, Jürgen Klopp could be seen with his arms outspread, a tableau of pathos, disbelief, astonishment, bewildered to find himself handed a red card by Anthony Taylor and sent from his touchline.

As Klopp whirled away, almost sprinting from pitchside, air‑guitaring wildly, still barking and yelping and pointing, it was hard to disagree with his look of stunned surprise. This made no sense at all. How exactly had Klopp managed to last 85 minutes out there?

It was just that kind of game, an afternoon that began slowly, before unspooling in a whirl of conjoined attacking thrust and counter-thrust, ignited by Manchester City’s disallowed goal on 55 minutes.

Liverpool’s manager had spent much of the second half cartwheeling down his touchline, beseeching the fourth official or looming over the assistant referee in his billowing quilted coat like an enraged human wigwam. There was an unpleasant edge at times in the spectacle, and a sense of spite in some of the songs and chants. Objects seemed to be thrown at City’s bench from the stand on that side. Football can feel like catharsis, a chance to expel all those pent‑up toxins. There seemed to be quite a lot to go round here.

By the end there was a kind of giddiness around those clanky corrugated stands, a sense of a 1-0 Liverpool win played out through a mist of rage. But for all the theatre this was also a cold victory, and a triumph of planning for Klopp, who achieved that rare thing, a genuine tactical triumph in a high‑stakes game.

The talk around this team in the last few weeks had been of entropy and rust. The players have looked tired. The system has looked tired. Klopp-ism, a way of playing where the variations are always to become a louder, faster version of yourself, to be this again, but more, seemed to have reached something of an end point.

But Klopp made two significant changes here. First he moved Mohamed Salah to the centre and asked him to play as a kind of free radical centre‑forward. Not a false 9 or a real No 9, just a kind of Salah nine, veering about in the gaps between the centre‑backs, chest puffed, legs whirring like a cartoon mouse, and looking utterly refreshed in that role.

Anfield had been a crisp, wintery kind of place at kick‑off, the air above the stands a chilly powder blue. There were some key textural changes to Liverpool’s starting XI, a 4-2-3-1 with Harvey Elliott in an in-out position on the right, sometimes as a wide midfielder, sometimes tucking in, allowing Salah to roam out that way or skitter across into the centre.

Klopp and Guardiola both unhappy with referee after Anfield clash – video

City’s back three was also a surprise twist, but in the event it seemed perfectly set up for Salah’s central role, offering channels of space between the central defenders for those spurting diagonal runs. And in those opening moments Liverpool were crisp and bruising and sharp. The last time James Milner had been asked to face off directly against Phil Foden at right-back there was a kind of low-level cruelty about the whole spectacle.

But here Milner had that side locked down, defending with aggression, charging out to intercept, and holding his ground as Foden twirled and jinked in front of him.

The game congealed for a while. There had been a sense of theatre just watching Erling Haaland walk out at the start. As he picked the ball up for the first time, there was the sound of a home crowd goggling just a little at the sheer human variety of it all. If he ever gets bored of team sport Haaland could probably fill a stadium with just him to watch run up and down.

But he didn’t finish well here. It would be wrong to say Haaland had a bad game. He kept finding space and making chances. He just looked oddly gauche, twice heading weakly from a good position. There was a poor touch when he might have played Foden in on goal. He looked, in an odd twist, like a 22-year-old.

Through all this Salah had already drawn one wonderfully athletic save from Ederson, careering in on goal from the halfway line after a fine pass by Roberto Firmino. With 71 minutes gone he seemed to think he was coming off, but was instead treated to a volley of furiously barked instructions from his manager.

And a few moments later he scored a thrillingly simple goal, made by a long, flat punt to the halfway line by Alisson. From there Salah took three touches, the first to nudge himself in front of João Cancelo, the second to shift the ball, the third a lovely, soft, side-footed finish that sent the ball zinging into the net and then back out again.

City might have equalised, might have been caught on the break, but were aided by the astonishingly focused tunnel vision of Darwin Núñez. Virgil van Dijk had a moment, heading out from under the crossbar with Haaland lurking, enough to draw a thunderclap of applause, a TV close‑up, to feel that shot of warmth, energy, vibes.

Another success was the neutering of Kevin De Bruyne’s influence, as Liverpool’s midfield three got close and stopped those bullocking runs. Nothing was resolved here. Liverpool are still only close to being close.

But Klopp earned this victory. Salah looked re-energised. Perhaps this thing might just have some road left to run.

Pep Guardiola promises more rotation as injury issues hit City’s defence | Champions League

Pep Guardiola has said he cannot field the same back four for Manchester City because Nathan Aké, Rúben Dias, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are unable to play every three days because of injury problems.

Stones and Kyle Walker are unavailable because of hamstring and groin problems respectively, Laporte has just returned after knee surgery, Aké has sustained a number of different issues and last season a muscle strain ruled Dias out for weeks. This means Guardiola has to constantly tinker with the rearguard, fielding a different one in the past six matches.

“I would love to have the same back four but they cannot handle it,” Guardiola said before City’s Champions League group game away to Copenhagen on Tuesday. “The players we have cannot handle every three days of being fit, other teams might be able to, but we can’t.

“Nathan can’t, Rúben last season, Stones. Aymeric came back from a big injury so it’s important for us that everyone can play and everyone can perform well.

“If you want to be in there with all the titles we are fighting for, and with the World Cup [coming up], and be in that position to fight until the end then we need to be ready, otherwise it will be so difficult.”

City have conceded 10 times in all competitions this season and Guardiola offered a view on how well his side are defending. “It’s good but we can do better in many aspects,” he said. “If we have a period when we play every three games we don’t have much time to analyse or think about the situation.

“After Liverpool [on Sunday] we have a week and have more time but now you don’t have much time to reflect on how we’re attacking or defending. In general it’s good because in the last two games we have played better, scored a lot of goals and conceded few chances. It is the level we had in the previous four or five seasons and I like that, it means the team is still here, it didn’t disappear.”

City take on Copenhagen having claimed a maximum of nine points from their three group games so far, the most recent of which was the 5-0 victory against the Danish side at the Etihad Stadium last week. Another victory would guarantee qualification to the knockout stages, while a draw would all but do the same for the Premier League champions.