PEP GUARDIOLA says his Manchester City team cannot look past the ‘kings’ of the Champions League – after they were handed a tricky route to the final.
City could face Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus in the last eight and then one of Pep’s old clubs Barcelona or Bayern Munich in the semis.
But first they must safely negotiate the second leg against Real Madrid to book their ticket to the finals in Portugal.
And Guardiola says it will come back to haunt them if they get to far ahead of themselves.
Asked about the prospect of playing Lyon or Juve in the quarter finals, the City chief said: “We have to play against Madrid.
“We play against Real Madrid, if we think about the next step the king of this competition will put us out.”
They will have to do that without Sergio Aguero – with Guardiola confirming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer will not be back from a knee injury by then.
He said: “I’ve told you many times he won’t be ready. Definitely.”
At least Uefa have confirmed the second leg of that last 16 tie against the 13 time winners will be at the Etihad – after reports that too would be played in Portugal.
Guardiola believes the right decision has been reached, saying: “Why should we play another place, the first leg in Madrid so second leg at home.
“It’s a normal situation, it’s not about advantages. It’s what it is. When it’s a knockout tie it’s normally one at home and one away.”
Before that City will hear whether they will be allowed to play in next season’s competition.
The result of their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against a two year ban handed down by UEFA should be known on Monday.
Pep said: “I’m so confident because I know and hear the arguments of the club.
“I think next season we will be there and after I will give my opinon and the club will give a statement.”