Guardiola's Manchester City are a Champions League wall

Guardiola's Manchester City are a Champions League wall

Manchester City's momentous tilt at a quadruple is down to the continuing efforts of their extraordinary defence.

City have let in just one goal in their past eight Champions League matches, and they are faring just as well domestically, enabling them to remain in contention to win the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup and the Premier League.

They've let opponents have just 10 shots on their goal in their last 22 league games, and that is down to Pep Guardiola's influence.

"Teams can always score against us from dead balls or on the counter-attack," he said.

"But they've got fewer options if they don't have the ball. You can't win the Premier League if you concede a lot of goals."

City's central defensive pairing of John Stones and Ruben Dias has been almost unbreakable.

In 1670 minutes together on the pitch they've let in the same number of goals as they have scored between them: five. In the Champions League, that sort of solidity is invaluable.

"We've only let in one goal in the competition," Guardiola said after beating Borussia Monchengladbach in their last-16 tie.

"That's impressive and it's a real step forward for the team.

"Every team runs, but it's important to understand that we defend with the ball. We've got to be aggressive. Our opponents, with the quality they have, can hurt us."

City's record-breaking numbers

They beat Porto 3-1 on October 21 and haven't conceded a goal in the Champions League since, a run of 695 minutes.

That's the second-longest run since Juventus in 2016/17. In City's sights now is the record of 10 clean sheets in the competition, held jointly by AC Milan (in 2004/05) and Arsenal (2005/06).

"It's important to be solid," Kevin De Bruyne said.

"It gives you confidence. Our defensive numbers are great. It's easier for all of us if we don't concede."

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