Pep Guardiola is confident with Manchester City. He says his side can now focus on the Premier League after qualifying for the Champions League last 16 with a group match to spare.
Ilkay Gundogan scored as City drew 1-1 at home against Shakhtar Donetsk. The result ensured Guardiola’s team would finish top of Group C.
“The target was to qualify and we have done it. This competition in February will be completely different, tougher. We will see in which conditions we arrive there. It’s all about the details.” Said Guardiola.
He added, “The group stage is always tricky. But now, we have one competition already done. So we can focus on the Premier League until we arrive in the cups.”
City has won the Premier League in both the last two seasons. The club is currently third domestically, nine points behind Liverpool.
As they are still in the Carabao Cup, Guardiola’s team will be playing between 30th November and 29th December. Although, they can now rest players for their last Champions League group game away in Croatia against Dinamo Zagreb on 11th December.
Gundogan gave City the lead after half time, side-footing home after some fine footwork from Gabriel Jesus that gave him the space to finish.
But Shakhtar who had shipped 12 goals without reply in their past three meetings with City stayed in the game. Substitute Manor Solomon leveled with his first touch when he met Dodo’s pull-back from the right.
City missed the record scorer, Sergio Aguero who had a thigh injury. Despite the situation, the club was not at full flow going forward despite Kevin de Bruyne’s energy in midfield and the industry of Jesus in the final third.
The Brazilian striker did not manage a touch inside the Shakhtar area in the first half. His only efforts at goal were a tame header and a shot that was blocked.
His hard work did create chances for others, however.
That was the closest City came to a winner in the final 20 minutes. An unimpressive attacking display petered out completely before the end with the crowd unable to lift the home side.
City’s poor performance in front of the goal did not bode well for the next few weeks while Aguero is absent. But they still achieved their twin objectives for the evening.