Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola believes that English clubs have a disadvantage in Europe but is excited by the extra challenge.
Guardiola won the Champions League twice with Barcelona but has never been beyond the quarter-finals with City.
A busy schedule has been made even tighter this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic having shortened the calendar.
And Guardiola believes that the lack of a winter break and a tight fixture list already makes it harder for Premier League clubs to win the Champions League.
“Every season is a disadvantage with the rest of the leagues, this league. Not just in this special year – last season and this season for the Covid-19, for that we’ve had to adapt.
“But even when the situation is normal, no winter breaks, a lot of games, a lot of competitions, intensity, the weather condition, the pitches – many, many things. That is attractive, this is the challenge.
“On the other side when you are able to do it, that is nice. No one before could win a domestic treble or four titles in one season, so if your mind is in the right position, in the right way, you can do it.”
City need a point from Wednesday’s trip to Olympiacos to confirm qualification to the knockout stages for an eighth successive season.
Guardiola’s side were surprisingly knocked out by Lyon in last season’s quarter-finals but he believes the club will be better this season.
“It’s (winning the Champions League) not an obsession. We want to do it the best and I say it every season. We are going to try our best and we have an important chance to almost qualify, that’s so good, to be in the best 16 teams in Europe.
“We have the chance and are going to try, knowing we still have two more chances. We need one more game to be there mathematically, so that is great. With respect to the other ones, I have a feeling we will do really well this season.
“I don’t know why but I’ve felt it from the beginning. I expect a reaction after last season when we finished against Lyon in Portugal. We know what we have to do. We know we are a team who last season scored a lot but now we are struggling.
“But we have to find solutions. We have the players to find the right way to attack more fluently and I have the feeling we can score goals. The way we play is quite good, I’m quite happy”.
Organisers Explain 2021 NSF Postponement
The 21st edition of National Sports Festival earlier scheduled for November 2 to 15, 2022, in Asaba, Delta State, will now hold from November 28 to December 10, 2022.
According to a statement by the Festival Secretary, Peter Nelson, and addressed to all Commissioners of Sports and Directors of Sports, the postponement was at the request of the host, Delta State.
“I wish to convey the request of Delta State Government to shift the date of the 21st National Sports Festival earlier scheduled to hold from November 2 to 15, 2022.
“It is now shifted to start on November 28 to December 10, 2022.
“The reason for the postponement is to give Delta State more time to complete some of the facilities needed for the festival,” the statement reads.
It will be recalled that the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival held in Benin City, Edo State, which was tagged: “Edo 2020,” also suffered several postponements until it finally held from April 2 to 14.
Nigeria Must Embrace Grassroots Sports Dev – Amusan
Women’S 100 metres hurdles world record holder, Tobi Amusan, believes that grassroots development programmes and top-notch training will help the country discover more athletics world champions.
Speaking in Lagos at a dinner organised in her honour by The Plug, an entertainment firm, tagged ‘Tobi Amusan’s Homecoming,’ she blamed the exodus of the Nigeria’s top athletes to other countries to what such nations offer the athletes.
“Grassroots sports development is something we lack here and the reason we often lose our top athletes to other countries of the world.
“From my experience training in the United States, if we can have such development here, we can groom young talents and unearth more Tobi Amusans,” she said.
On the recent ratification of her record by World Athletics, Amusan said: “That my world record was ratified by the world body means that I am drug free and that I am clean. I feel great about it. Every time I am on the track, my eyes are always set on how to win and I execute it by winning.”
She also spoke on the recent reception by the Federal Government, saying, “It is great feeling that we were recognised by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In as much as we did the work, it was an honour that they took into account and they recognised the fact that we did the nation proud. It is such a great feeling getting the national honour.”
She acknowledged the support she got after her world record feat, with her followers on Twitter rising from 3000 to 150,000 under 24 hours, saying it showed that people appreciate what she is doing.
On the criticism by men’s 400 metres world record holder, Michael Johnson, after her record breaking race in Oregon, U.S, Amusan said she was not bothered. “Honestly, I kept doing my thing because after the World Championships, I had other competitions to attend. I don’t dwell on negativity… I look on the bright side of the sport.”
At the event, Flutterwave, which used the occasion to declare it has signed a multi-year partnership deal with Amusan, said: “It is very difficult to find athletes who embody our core values the way Tobi does.”
YSFON : Academy Coach Begs For Assistance
The Head coach of the De Kings International Football Academy (DKIFA) of Port Harcourt Okpaleke Chika King is begging the Rivers State ministry of Sports, private and corporate individuals and all lovers of football for financial support to assist his team represent the state in Youth Sports Federation Of Nigeria (YSFON) competition.
He said that his team was representing Rivers state at the ongoing Chief of Naval Staff National (YSFON) Competition in Ilorin, Kwara State. He said he had written a letter to the Ministry of Sports and also to some private individuals for assistance.
King made the assertion on Saturday in an exclusive interview with Tidesports in Port Harcourt before leaving for Kwara state.
According to him he had nothing to do than to borrow money for the journey believing that when the State’s Commissioner for Sports sees the letter he would not fail to respond to it.
“ As you can see, my boys are ready for the competition but we lack support.
“ I have written to the Ministry of Sports and also to some private individuals to assist us but I have not gotten any reply, yet.
By: Kiadum Edookor
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