Pep wants maximum points for derby lift

LONDON • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is relishing the opportunity to end the Champions League group stage with maximum points when his side face Shakhtar Donetsk away today.

Only five other teams have achieved this feat in the competition's history - AC Milan (1992-93), Paris Saint-Germain (1994-95), Spartak Moscow (1995-96), Barcelona (2002-03) and Real Madrid (2011-12 and 2014-15).

If City, who are on a 28-game unbeaten run in all competitions, win today, it will also be a boost ahead of the Manchester derby in the Premier League on Sunday.

"It is a big opportunity to get 18 points out of 18, which is prestigious for the club. The best way to prepare for the Manchester United game is playing good against Shakhtar," Guardiola said.

Shakhtar will also be through to the last 16 if they avoid defeat or if Napoli do not beat Feyenoord in the other Group F game.

Off the pitch, the City manager will face no sanctions following a bizarre post-match rant aimed at Southampton's Nathan Redmond after the Premier League leaders stole a late 2-1 win on Nov 30.

Guardiola harangued the Southampton midfielder following his side's victory and the Football Association (FA) gave him until Monday to respond.

It initially appeared Guardiola was confronting Redmond to complain about something but he said afterwards he was complimenting the player. This was later corroborated by Redmond himself.

Britain's Press Association reported on Monday that the FA accepted the Spaniard's version of events and will not take the matter further.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2017, with the headline 'Pep wants maximum points for derby lift'. Print Edition | Subscribe