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Guardiola: Monaco are killers in the box
Editorial

Guardiola: Monaco are killers in the box

Manchester City take on Monaco on Tuesday evening in a Champions League last-16 clash, a team which Pep Guardiola has been fascinated with this season.

The Ligue 1 leaders have already scored over 100 goals in the 2016/17 season, which is a major concern for the Catalan tactician.

"I am really impressed with how good Monaco are," Guardiola told those at his pre-match press conference

"They are killers in the box.

"Both holding midfielders are intelligent, physical and strong."

Radamel Falcao is one of the reasons for Monaco's impressive goalscoring tally, having netted 21 so far, and Guardiola was asked why he thought it didn't work out for the Colombian in England.

"I don't know what happened here," he replied.

"All the players at the top level are good players, but sometimes it doesn't happen for them.

"The way Monaco play is perfect for him and I'm happy he is back and scoring goals."

The coach was also complementary when discussing his opposite number Leonardo Jardim, pointing out how well the Portuguese boss has done in Ligue 1.

"[Jardim] has been there a long time, so he has done a good job," the Catalan said.

"I know how tough PSG are and knowing that [Monaco] are ahead of them is enough to tell how good a job he has done."

With respect to injuries, Guardiola revealed that Vincent Kompany will still be out of action but Gael Clichy is expected to shrug off a pain in his back and should be available for Tuesday's first leg.

Zidane: Real Madrid's style has always been to give 120%

A new book, which will be in shops on Tuesday, recounts last season's success at Real Madrid, and Zinedine Zidane explains that the club's philosophy has always been to 120 per cent.

The Frenchman replaced Rafa Benitez as manager in January 2016 and led the club to Champions League glory.

Journalist Enrique Ortega wrote the book, celebrating the achievement.

"For me, Real Madrid's style has always been the same: give 100 per cent, 120 per cent," Zidane is quoted as saying.

"I have always known it to be like that; give your best, your maximum.

"I believe fans, above all, want to see their players give everything they have, then, whether we win or lose, that's when people claim it is a team which wins more than it loses, that it is a winning club.

"The history of this club is to win."

The book reveals some of the most-guarded secrets from within the Real Madrid dressing room, as well as comments from Marcelo.

Lucas Vazquez and Nacho also talk about their first-person experiences, especially in the hours before and after that Champions League final in Milan.

Otamendi agent refuses to dismiss interest in Real Madrid switch

Although Manchester City are yet to see the consistent best of Nicolas Otamendi, the player's agent, Martin Sendoa, has admitted that a transfer to Real Madrid would be worth considering.

Jorge Mendes represents the Argentine in Europe, and with the super-agent having strong ties to big clubs throughout the continent, Otamendi has previously been a target for the likes of Barcelona, according to Sendoa.

"Nico is happy at Manchester City. But who wouldn't like to play at Real Madrid? It's the biggest club in the world," he said in conversation with Radio Continental.

"Jorge Mendes is managing Otamendi in Europe.

"Barcelona have also followed him since he was at Valencia."

City forked out 35 million euros to bring in the centre-back from Los Che and he's been a key part of Pep Guardiola's side this season, playing 20 times in the Premier League with a further five starts in the Champions League.

 

Pique: When Luis Enrique arrived we were in the s**t

Following the jeers around the Camp Nou during Barcelona's narrow win over Leganes, Gerard Pique has leapt to the defence of under-fire Luis Enrique.

The home fans showed their frustration as the Blaugrana needed a last-gasp penalty to overcome the La Liga debutants.

And Pique has reminded them they were in a very difficult situation before their eventual treble success in 2014-15.

"When Luis Enrique arrived we were really in the s**t," he said.

"I would like everyone to remember all the work he has done with us and everything he did for us as a player.

"We are with him to the end."

Barcelona's fall from grace has been quite remarkable, and Pique admits they are working hard to turn things around and has pleaded with fans for their support.

"It is not just the tactics, the confidence is quite low but I give my word: we are doing everything possible," he continued.

"My message to the fans is that we are still alive and I believe we still have a chance in La Liga and will fight until the end.

"In the Champions League, I ask the fans to go to the ground.

"If we come back, they would have so angry at having stayed home.

"And, in the cup, we are in the final against Alaves and hope to win."

Simeone: Atletico Madrid are better than in 2016

Atletico Madrid have travelled to Germany for their Champions League date with Bayer Leverkusen, and coach Diego Simeone believes they do so in better form than in 2016.

A decent away victory at Sporting Gijon last time out has seen the Rojiblancos in buoyant mood ahead of their European assignment.

"In 2016, we had a lot of room for improvement," Simeone said at his pre-match press conference.

"We continue trying to improve but there has been a leap in quality."

The visitors can welcome back goalkeeper Jan Oblak after he recovered from injury, but Simeone wouldn't confirm if the Slovenian would start.

"The doctors discharged him and he began training with us, and now he is challenging Miguel and Andre," he continued.

"On Tuesday we will decide who plays and who does not."

Strikers Kevin Gameiro and Fernando Torres will also have to play the waiting game to find out which of them will support Antoine Greizmann.

"It is always good and important that the strikers score," Simeone noted.

"Their characteristics are different and both are players who need minutes.

"Whether they start or have at least 30 minutes, we're happy that they're playing well."

Another forward doing the business is Bayer's Javier 'Chicarito' Hernandez.

"He gives them many alternatives," he said.

"We have to see how they play because we are going to meet the best Bayer this season."

Pep Guardiola faces the most efficient striker in Europe

Manchester City face Monaco in an intriguing Champions League contest and, in Radamel Falcao, are up against statistically the best striker in European football.

With the Premier League title seemingly out of reach, Pep Guardiola's men will have to pump everything into winning the continent's premier competition.

But in their way stand a team flying in Ligue 1 and a striker who averages almost a goal a game in European competition.

Falcao has scored an impressive 42 in 47 appearances across the Champions League, Europa League and Uefa Super Cup.

That ratio sees him top he list among the strikers on the continent, the Colombian followed by some greats and then some questionable others.

The next best is Bayern Munich legend Gerd Muller's 62 in 71 but then comes Stephane Guivarc'h who managed an impressive 24 in just 28 games.

Ferenc Puskas is next with 37 in 43 before Lionel Messi gets on yet another in list in fifth place with 96 in 115.

Gabi: Atleti are ready for Bayer

Atletico Madrid's form has taken a turn for the better, just in time for the Champions League last-16 clash with Bayer Leverkusen, and Gabi want his side to keep it up insisting they are ready for the challenge.

A difficult end to 2016 saw the Rojiblancos out of the title race before Christmas but they have won their last three in LaLiga and are unbeaten since December 12.

Gabi wants the momentum to keep going.

"The bad patch so far has only really been in LaLiga," he said.

"In all other competitions, we have been serious contenders.

"We need to keep our form up because the hardest part of the Champions League is ahead of us and LaLiga will be decided."

Atletico met Bayer at the same stage in 2015 and eliminated the Germans on penalties en route to the final.

Gabi believes they are facing a completely different outfit this time around.

"Both teams have changed somewhat," he continued.

"They are younger and fiercer, while we have more options that two years ago.

"We have learnt that any German team can cause you problems and they will be a difficult opponent."
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