• City finished second in the 2019/20 Premier League, finishing the season 18 points behind Liverpool having won the title in each of the two previous campaigns.
• Guardiola’s side bowed out of the UEFA Champions League at the quarter-final stage for the third season running, going down 3-1 against Lyon in their one-off tie in Lisbon.
• City had finished first in their group with 14 points (W4 D2) before seeing off Real Madrid in the last 16, winning 2-1 away and at home against the 13-time European champions.
• This is the Cityzens’ tenth UEFA Champions League campaign; they have been involved in the group stage every season since 2011/12 and have reached the round of 16 in seven successive campaigns.
• City have scored 35 goals in their last 13 UEFA Champions League matches; over the last two seasons their record is W13 D3 L3 with 51 goals scored and 21 conceded.
• City are unbeaten in eight home European matches (W7 D1) since a 2-1 loss against Lyon on Matchday 1 in 2018/19.
• City’s best UEFA Champions League performance was reaching the 2015/16 semi-finals.
• This is City’s seventh match against Portuguese opponents, and a first since that 2011/12 UEFA Europa League campaign. Having eased past Porto in the round of 32, they bowed out on away goals to Sporting CP in the last 16 (0-1 a, 3-2 h) despite Agüero’s second-leg double.
• This is Porto’s 24th UEFA Champions League group campaign, fewer only than Real Madrid and Barcelona (both 25).
• The Portuguese side have qualified for the last 16 on each of their last three appearances in the group stage.
• Porto’s 2019/20 UEFA Champions League campaign lasted a single tie, however, Krasnodar beating them on away goals in the third qualifying round (1-0 a, 2-3 h). They went on to finish first in a UEFA Europa League section including Rangers, Young Boys and Feyenoord, but were beaten by Bayer Leverkusen in the round of 32 (1-2 a, 1-3 h).
• Porto have lost three of their last four matches in the UEFA Champions League proper (W1) but are unbeaten in nine games in the competition’s group stage (W7 D2), winning their last four.
• Sérgio Conceição’s side won the club’s eighth domestic double in 2019/20, claiming Porto’s 29th league title and a 17th Portuguese Cup.
• Porto have not scored on their last seven visits to England, conceding 15 goals, and have never won there. Their most recent trip was a 2-0 loss at Liverpool in the 2018/19 quarter-final first leg; a 4-1 home reverse in the second leg made it one win in Porto’s last seven matches against Premier League clubs, home and away (D1 L5).•
*Porto’s record away to English clubs is W0 D3 L16 F10 A50. They have lost in six of their last seven trips
*Porto/City have only met twice competitively in the knock-out stages of the Europa on February 2012. City won 6-1 on aggregate, behind a 4-0 win at the Etihad. Agüero scored after just 19 seconds before Dzeko, David Silva, and Pizarro sealed it.
*Pep Guardiola has faced FC Porto 3 times in his managerial career – 2 of which came in a Champions League tie that ended 6-4 to Bayern Munich on aggregate. The other was a European Super Cup match which saw Pep’s Barcelona win 2-1.
“Porto are one of the strongest teams in Portugal, their mentality is to win every single weekend. Their physicality is strong, they have experienced guys like Pepe. The spirit and culture that they have with their manager means it will be a tough match.”
“We had a few injuries so our preparations were delayed. We had fewer weeks – in this period it is so important, in one month it would be less. It is important the players come back fit and training with the right mood.”
“I probably know Porto the best and hopefully it will be good intel on how we approach the match. I have had pressure throughout my career, it’s part of football and I like it, it is all good.”
“I haven’t been here long but every day is a new opportunity. Especially every match. We haven’t had much time to train, it is more of play, train, rest. You can start feeling the influence of the manager, influence of the players. It’s been good.”
“I haven’t seen any rivalry between myself and Porto. They’re a strong team, know what they need to do, and they are good from dead balls. We need to be aware that we have a difficult match and we need to be strong to be able to get the win.”
“It’s just another match, just another opponent and the focus is to win and to be the best, nothing more than that.”
“We (Ruben Dias) obviously spoke about this game given the size of it. I’ve had a lot of affection and respect for Ruben from his 1st day with the national team. He’s always been an exemplary player with the national team and I think that shows his character. “I’m happy that he’s come to a club like Manchester City but tomorrow he will be an opponent. I’ll fight for my interests and I know he’ll do the same. Hopefully, I’ll leave here happier than he does.”
“It’s pretty clear this is not going to be about Pepe versu Aguero. It’s two teams against each other and it’s a very important match for both teams. I’ll do everything to win this match and my team-mates likewise, so we need to be humble and recognize the opponent is very strong. In the end it’s 11 against 11. Football, despite all the difficulties going in right now, will always be 11 against 11.”
“My thinking is I want to always win, that is what keeps me today performing at a higher level.”
“I am happy to be captain. I know the responsibility that comes with it. It is an enormous motivation.”
“Training and representing the club that I love so much has a special significance. Scoring is not that important, my principal job is to defend and I would be happy if we can come away from here with allowing a goal.”
“We know we are going to have to work hard as a team to try to accomplish what we want, which is to win.”
“Pepe is a man of the club and a great athlete. He adds to professionalism, has a fantastic character, and carries a huge dedication. It is a pride to have him as captain. Perhaps, he is the most competitive player I managed.”
“I don’t think so. Nowadays, there is so much information and so much quality about all the players that there is no positive or negative influence. Their Portuguese players have quality, I appreciate their qualities, but they are opposing players, no more than that.”
“I am convinced that we’ll do everything to counter that. I have a lot of respect for the opponent, for what they have
done in recent years, especially with this manager, but it is up to us to try to counter this negative statistic. As you know, I don’t like to talk about statistics, each match has a life of its own, there is no point in remembering the past. Basically, it involves preparing players at all levels in the best way and trying to win.”
Ricardo Pereira Opinion on Man City x FC Porto
“I have followed them (FC Porto), but in the Classico I could only manage to see the 2nd half. I think we need to give them time, because it is a squad that has lost important players such as Danilo and Alex Telles.”
“FC Porto need to limit spaces and try to play a compact style. City like to explore the space between the lines and like to shoot to open up space on the opposite side. They have a form of playing that is very difficult to defend.”
“City continues to be a dominator, with their typical characteristic style, with players on a world class level. They have been devastated this season by injuries.”
SOURCES: UEFA.com, FC Porto & Manchester City Press Conferences