The Blues were knocked out of Europe for the third straight year earlier this month, this time at the hands of French team Lyon, in the quarter-final stage. They were defeated 3-1 in Lisbon by a team who could only achieve a seventh-place finish in Ligue 1. Man City supporters criticized Pep Guardiola extensively for his selected starting XI and unfamiliar 3-4-3 formation with David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden, all sitting on the bench.
However, a lot of huge adjustments are anticipated following another early loss in the Champions League at Etihad Stadium, and Messi is strongly aligned to a transfer to Manchester amid persistent speculation regarding his future at Barca. The Argentine served alongside Guardiola at Camp Nou between 2008 and 2012, but Hargreaves encouraged his former team to concentrate on strengthening up the defensive line.
“I’m sure Pep would take Messi if he could, but he will have seen the impact [Virgil] van Dijk had at Liverpool and realise he needs that kind of player more than anything. He needs the new Vincent Kompany, a leader who can make or break a game in the tight moments,” the ex-City midfielder told BT Sport.
According to Hargreaves, if they don’t have a well-organized line of defence, no squad will be strongest in the world. He listed the transition of Liverpool after The Reds brought in a defender like Vigil van Dijk and a goal-keeper of world-class like Alisson. He suggested that if Pep decides to make his team a champion side, he should do the same too.
“The problem for City is that no team wins the Champions League without a world-class defence. Look at how Liverpool went from being a good team to a great team with Allison and Van Dijk. City were probably close to being the best team in the world when they had Vincent Kompany. Pep – along with Klopp – is the best. But if you can’t deal with pressure at certain moments in the game you are going to be found out. If you don’t have a Van Dijk or a Kompany then it’s hard and that’s probably why Pep picked the team he did,” Hargreaves said.
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