Pep Guardiola faces familiar battle as Man City return to RB Leipzig

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Manchester City have lost their last two matches ahead of their toughest Champions League group stage game this week

Last year in Leipzig, Pep Guardiola took the unusual step of addressing his players on the pitch after their Champions League game.

Manchester City had drawn 1-1 in the first leg of their last-16 tie and had been up against it in the second half, yet the manager told them to hold their heads up high. He took that fighting attitude into his post-match interviews, where he ridiculed expectations that they would win these sorts of games 5-0.

City had won the same fixture 5-0 the previous year against Sporting, and would go on to beat RB Leipzig 7-0 in the second leg of their tie so perhaps that is why expectations were so high. When his team are on song, there are few that can live with them.

Guardiola, though, was acting and reacting to the situation he faced. City were struggling for form when they headed off for that game and encouragement was the chosen motivational tool for his players just as the media tactic was to talk up how tough the competition was.

When push comes to shove, City bosses trust Guardiola to choose the right tactics and find the perfect blend to inspire another victory. That is why he is the best coach in the world, finding solutions to overcome any injury issues or shortcomings in the transfer window.

As City head to Leipzig again, the stakes are nowhere near as serious. They can afford to lose this game and still qualify comfortably for the knockouts and they sit top of the Premier League.

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