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Franny Lee warns Chelsea they risk “a right pasting” in Champions League final

For Franny Lee, there can be only one outcome when Manchester City face Chelsea in the Champions League final.

“If I was playing for Manchester City against Chelsea, I’d feel very confident that we’ll win,” said Lee.

“I wouldn’t even entertain the thought we could lose, because we’re that good.

“And if Chelsea get lulled into a false sense of security, having won the last two games against City, they’ll get a right pasting.”

Lee was a member of the only City side to win a European trophy, back in 1970, when Joe Mercer’s team lifted the Cup-Winners’ Cup with a 2-1 win over Polish side Górnik Zabrze in Vienna.

Former striker Lee, who also served as City chairman in the mid 1990s, is convinced Pep Guardiola will deliver the club’s first Champions League trophy and kickstart an era of European dominance.

Francis Lee played a key role in City’s only European winning campaign

“There are so many good players at City, I can see them dominating for years to come,” said Lee, now 77, who will be in Porto for Saturday’s final.

“I think they can be invincible, with the manager they have and the players they’ve got.

“I think that’s the reason Pep signed the new contract and decided to put his lot in with City.

“His managerial career will probably go on for another five to 10 years, and I can’t see him walking away from a team like City, where he has everything at his disposal.

“There wouldn’t be a reason, unless there was an almighty bust-up.

“They’re very good people to work for, the standards at the club are very, very high, and to be a player there these days must be an absolute pleasure.”

Lee was the star man in City’s Cup-Winners’ Cup victory 51 years ago, playing a part in the first goal and scoring the second from the penalty spot.

Lee believes Guardiola can turn Man City into 'invincibles'
Lee believes Guardiola can turn Man City into ‘invincibles’

“I remember it well because it was absolutely chucking it down that day,” recalled Lee. “It was like a wet Wednesday in Westhoughton.

“It was also my birthday – I turned 25 that day, so I had two reasons to celebrate.

“Gornik were a really good side, full of Polish internationals, so it was a tough game and a real achievement to beat them.

“Neil Young was fouled by their goalkeeper, who would have got sent off twice these days.

“When I stepped up to take the penalty, all sorts of things go through your mind, but I scored and that was that.

“We had a party that night and another one when we got back to Manchester the next day. But that team started to break up around 1974.

“It went from being a joyous club and a great place to play, to one where it was hard work to even go into training.

“City won the League Cup in 1976, but didn’t win another trophy until the FA Cup in 2011, so it was a tough time for the club.”

With Sergio Aguero leaving after the final, after 10 glittering years, City are evolving, but Lee, who scored 148 goals in 330 games for the Blues, is convinced the future is in safe hands.

“We’ve got a goalkeeper in Ederson who plays in deep midfield and creates goals, so in that sense he’s redefined the role of a keeper,” said Lee.

“And Phil Foden is a player who is going to get better and better and better.

“I don’t know where he’s going to be in three or four years but, providing he keeps the right side of everything, he’ll be something phenomenal. And Kevin De Bruyne is just fantastic.

“I just feel sorry for Aguero that his last season, which could be the biggest season City have had, he’s not been a full part of it, with injuries.

Sergio Aguero could end his illustrious Man City career by lifting the Champions League
Sergio Aguero could end his illustrious Man City career by lifting the Champions League

“But he’s given the club sterling service, scored so many goals and never seems to sulk or anything like that.

“He’s a really tough and resilient character and it’ll be hard to replace him, but there are one of two guys out there on the market now, the top guys, who will be dying to get into his seat.

“If you’re a striker who thrives on how many goals you score, you’d be running up to the bloody front door at City, wouldn’t you?”

If, as Lee predicts, City beat Chelsea to win a first Champions League trophy, will it be an emotional moment for him, given his history with the club?

“I might shed a tear or two,” confessed Lee. “On the quiet, you know!”

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