Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday that qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League with a game to spare would be a major boost to Manchester City's season, but warned that they face opponents with real star quality in Paris Saint-Germain.
Looking ahead to Wednesday's showdown with PSG on home turf, Guardiola paid particular praise to Lionel Messi, with whom he had a close relationship at Barcelona.
But knowing how to counter his talents? That was a tough question.
"It's so difficult," Guardiola said. "Sometimes when he has the ball he doesn't know what he's going to do. Is he going to the right or the left? When he has the ball, not even he knows exactly what he is going to do."
"I cannot tell the players what he (Messi) will do, but hey, it happens with Neymar and (Kylian) Mbappe, with (Angel) Di Maria, with all the players upfront with this team," Guardiola added. "Every player could be a complete star in any team around the world, and all four are in the same team. But at the same time, still I am glad and happy that he is still playing at the level he plays and with the quality, so yeah, it will be nice to face him again."
He also had words for Mauricio Pochettino: "You can be a top manager and not win titles. Of course. For the managers who have the chance to win titles is because you are at the top, top clubs, with good investment and exceptional players. Otherwise the manager, it's impossible to win. That doesn't mean managers, even in the Championship, or not at the top of the Premier League can't be excellent managers tactics wise, in communication, leading the teams and the human beings. Of course, it's not neccessary to be a good manager to win titles."