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Guardiola calls on Man City fans to help side overcome Spurs test

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By Reuters
Guardiola calls on Man City fans to help side overcome Spurs test
Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester City Press Conference - Etihad Campus, Manchester, Britain - April 16, 2019 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff   -   Copyright  JASON CAIRNDUFF(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola called on the home supporters to give his players their full support as they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Tottenham Hotspur in Wednesday’s second-leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.

But some tickets are still available for the match on the club’s website, and Guardiola admitted he was curious to see how the atmosphere turns out for this must-win game for City if it is to stay on track for an unprecedented quadruple this season.

City fans take a poor view of UEFA and routinely boo its anthem when it is played ahead of matches, partly due to a hefty fine the club received from European football’s governing body in 2014 for breaching financial fair play rules.

But Guardiola is hoping the fans will put their animosity to one side and give the team a lift on Wednesday night.

“At this stage, without supporters, we cannot go through. I’m expecting. I’m really curious to how our fans are going to react tomorrow,” Guardiola told a news conference.

“The last 20 months, (the players) are so proud with what they have done.

“They are human beings, they will have bad moments in the games, and at that moment we need our supporters,” he said.

When asked what kind of atmosphere he wants, Guardiola replied: “Like Liverpool (league victory in January)…but a little better.”

Even if they beat Spurs to reach the semi-finals, City will have no time to rest on their laurels as they face the north London club again in the Premier League on Saturday before visiting local rivals Manchester United on April 24.

With league leaders Liverpool two points ahead of City, who have a game in hand, Guardiola suggested the next seven days were crucial for his side’s season.

“If we don’t win these games we will be out of two competitions,” added. “They are absolute finals for us, I’ve had that feeling from weeks ago.

“I know how difficult our fixtures are and we play Tottenham and then the derby at Old Trafford and Burnley. All the games are tough. We don’t have rest.”

Utility player Oleksandr Zinchenko is the only doubt for City after midfielder Fernandinho returned to training following a short-term absence.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)