Guardiola on defending the Champions League, injured trio and Red Star

Joe Bradshaw, BBC Sport

Pep Guardiola has been speaking to the media before Manchester City begin the defence of their Champions League title against Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday.

Here are the key lines from his news conference:

  • After winning the trophy last season, his side have reset for this campaign: “Every year, the target is always to win one, then qualify for the last 16, then try to win the Champions League. We are incredibly proud to defend this crown and tomorrow is the first step.”

  • He wants to emulate teams that have won the competition in consecutive years: “It was really special for us to win our first – it was incredible. But, put it in perspective - how many teams have won one Champions League? In that sense, we have not done anything special yet.”

  • As a result, he says the team’s mission “is not done”, adding: “We were happy that day but if I lived for the memories I would be on some beach. We have a new challenge and we will try again.”

  • Ederson made some fine saves against West Ham on Saturday and Guardiola was quick to praise his goalkeeper: “His maturity is getting better and better. When the opposition arrives, he is there. These details make the difference.”

  • Injured trio Jack Grealish, John Stones and Mateo Kovacic remain sidelined: “Hopefully, they will be ready for Nottingham [Forest on Saturday] or the next games.”

  • He knows Red Star Belgrade will offer a real challenge: “They are so aggressive and we have to be ready. Quick in transitions, good runners and when they attack, they have lots of players in the final third.”

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