Pep Guardiola tells his Manchester City stars they are auditioning for a Champions League place

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - City lead Real Madrid 2-1 going into second leg of last 16 tie

City players celebrate after Jesus levels the scores against Real Madrid in February. City won the match 2-1. EPA

Referee Daniele Orsato shows Sergio Ramos the red card dafter his foul on Jesus. Getty

Real Madrid's Isco celebrates scoring their goal with Vinicius Junior and Sergio Ramos. Reuters

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling is fouled by Real Madrid's Dani Carvajal resulting in a penalty. Reuters

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne scores from the penalty spot. Reuters

City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring their first goal with Riyad Mahrez and teammates. Reuters

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak (second left) and other officials applaud after the final whistle. PA

City players celebrate at the end of the first leg and a famous win. EPA

Real Madrid's Carlos Casemiro, Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal at the end of the first leg. EPA

Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale looks downcast after Manchester City's second goal. AFP

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos brings down Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus and is sent off for a professional foul. PA


The National

July 25, 2020

July 25, 2020


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Pep Guardiola has told his Manchester City players Sunday's visit of Norwich is a trial for next month's crunch clash against Real Madrid.

City host the Canaries in a relatively-meaningless contest in the final round of Premier League games.

Guardiola's side are already assured of second place, while bottom side Norwich have long accepted relegation as their fate.

But while there may be bigger drama elsewhere on Sunday, Guardiola is determined to sharpen up for the delayed Champions League last-16 second leg against the Spanish giants at the Etihad Stadium on August 7.

City will defend a 2-1 lead after their stunning victory at the Bernabeu in February and his players, after last week's disappointing FA Cup semi-final loss to Arsenal, will be playing for their places this weekend.

Guardiola said: "I know them quite well but this game against Norwich and the way they are going to train this week – I am going to be paying attention for who is more able to play against Madrid.

"Every day will be an exam for me to see who is ready to play this game. I would say against Arsenal we were not ready, against Watford a little bit better, but still we need to improve."

City were outstanding in winning the title for the past two seasons but their bid for a third in succession began to unravel early this term.

Norwich may ultimately have found the leap too big after last season's promotion but their stunning victory over City at Carrow Road in September created shockwaves.

It was the first of nine losses suffered by City in an unexpectedly weak title defence.

"We lost there, that game showed our inconsistency this season," said Guardiola, whose side have still notched 97 goals en route to a comfortable runners-up finish.

"The last game was the first time we won four games in a row. Last season we did 14 [in a row] and before that 18. We've not been consistent.

"It's the last game at home. We want to win, maybe score 100 goals again and then prepare for the game against Madrid."

Updated: July 25, 2020 02:04 PM

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