Manchester City looks to get its Champions League campaign on the winning track following an opening loss while Manchester United is also under pressure to do well against Valencia. City travels to Germany to face Hoffenheim today after Lyon stunned them at home in their first match in Group F but has been impressive domestically before heading to Hoffenheim.
"Our profession is so demanding, we have to do our best every single day," Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola said. "I want all of my players to be focused." Hoffenheim drew at Shakhtar Donetsk, who next heads to Lyon, in their group stage debut.
Manchester United meanwhile hosts Valencia having won away to Young Boys last time but League Cup elimination and another to defeat West Ham on Saturday keeps the Red Devils under pressure. A rift between manager Jose Mourinho and star player Paul Pogba has contributed to the worst league start in 29 years at Old Trafford. Clubs usually don't turn to the Champions League in an attempt to save a rapidly sinking ship but that's what Manchester United will have to do. A win over Valencia will give Manchester United two straight wins in the Champions League. United's troubles have been brewing since the summer when Mourinho complained about what he felt was the club's lack of activity in the transfer market. He has also leveled criticism at his players, with Pogba receiving the brunt of it. The two have traded barbs in the media all season long, with the World Cup winner questioning tactics as well as saying the team's attitude wasn't right. Pogba was left out of the shoot-out against Derby and also had a tense exchange with Mourinho in training that was captured by cameras last week. He was then stripped of his vice-captaincy with Mourinho saying "no player is bigger than the club.
"Manchester United is bigger than anyone and I have to defend that," he added. United's last win came in the Champions League at Young Boys back on Sept. 19. Pogba was the star that night, scoring twice in the first half before setting up Anthony Martial's clincher after the break.
Elsewhere today, Juventus hosts the Swiss side in the other Group H game without Cristiano Ronaldo, suspended after being sent off at Valencia. Massimiliano Allegri insisted his side "still needs to improve," after eight successive wins. "We are still making errors of judgment."
Roma hopes to escape bottom place in Group G as it welcomes Viktoria Plzen. The Giallorossi is buoyant after a 3-1 win in a city derby with Lazio, which may have marked a change of gears after a poor start to the season. Leader Real Madrid travels to CSKA Moscow, without four of their most important players. Gareth Bale has an abductor injury, Isco is still recovering from Appendicitis, Marcelo has a calf problem, and Sergio Ramos has been rested after playing three games in seven days. Madrid goes into the game having only scored two goals in their last four league matches, though they hit three against Roma. Bundesliga record champion Bayern Munich is also stumbling having not won in two at home before welcoming Ajax in Group E. Elsewhere, Benfica will travel to Greece to face AEK Athens.
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