Manchester City wrestle to stop the most effective groups from scoring in opposition to them and their central defenders could possibly be focused in Friday’s Champions League conflict in opposition to Spanish champions Real Madrid, former England skipper Wayne Rooney mentioned. Pep Guardiola’s City lead Real after they gained the away leg of their last-16 tie 2-1 in March, earlier than Europe’s elite membership competition was suspended as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
Rooney, who gained the competition with Manchester United in 2008, mentioned City have their finest alternative but to carry the trophy for the primary time.
“City may never have a better chance to win the Champions League,” Rooney wrote in his column for the Sunday Times. “Sergio Ramos is suspended which is a huge loss to the Real defence and I think City will score. Whether they are solid enough at the back themselves is my only question.
“Real will target their centre halves and it’s a worry that this season every other (Premier League) ‘Big Six’ club beat City… This shows Guardiola’s team can struggle to keep the best sides out.”
Rooney mentioned he anticipated Real to permit City to dominate possession after which intention to hit them on the counter.
“I saw Zinedine Zidane do it in his first spell as Real coach when he played against Guardiola-style teams in big games, and it brought him successes,” Rooney added.
“Yet my money is still on City. They don’t have to chase the game. They don’t have to score. They can even afford to lose 1-0 and go through, and in the first leg they surprised Madrid by sitting in themselves.
“It was the first time I’ve seen Guardiola play like that and I’ve a feeling he’ll do the same at the Etihad. It could be a game of cat-and-mouse.”