Everything Pep Guardiola had to say ahead of City's game against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Manchester City completed the signing of Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake on Wednesday night as Pep Guardiola's rebuild begins to take shape for next season.
Commenting on his move, Ake spoke of a determination to break into the team and contribute to more trophies for the club
“Coming here is a dream for me. This is a top side full of world-class players. Everywhere you look in this squad there are big names with international pedigree," he said.
“Pep is a manager admired across the world – what he’s done in the game speaks for itself. The success he’s had is unbelievable and the style of football he plays really appeals to me.
“I know I’m going to have to work hard to get into the side, but that’s what I’m here to do. I’ll do whatever I can to make an impact and help the team win silverware.”
Guardiola held a virtual press conference on Thursday afternoon and you can see what he had to say in our recapped blog below.
How will you set up tomorrow night?
The final question, this. And an interesting answer, if I do say so myself.
"Quite often managers plan for games but in the end the game speaks for itself. you can set up a certain way but the way the game develops dictates how you will play. We want to impose our own style, whether we are defending or playing on the counter or Madrid are countering. We want to take the game to certain areas of the field where we can hurt Madrid and show the qualities of our players. I hope we can prove Courtois is in good form by giving him a very busy evening but we also know there may be periods where we have to defend. The situation on the night will determine things.
Make you more relaxed?
"We knew that Ramos was going to be out from the minute the game finished at the Bernabeu. Of course he is key to them and he has been a great player throughout his career but as I just said now we are focusing more on what we can do to influence and win the game than who might or might not be playing for Madrid.
Opinion of Zidane
Focus on City.
"It’s difficult to know when you think that you’ve got one of his tactical plans covered he’ll hit you with another or revert. It is already very difficult to analyse tactics. In the dim and distant past we played the first leg and what we can remember from that we will put to good use. Since then, we’ve watched all Madrid’s games since La Liga restarted so we’ve spoken about how we think Madrid might approach this game but what we have done more is speak as a squad about how we can hurt Madrid and cause problems for them. That is what we’ve been focusing on in the buildup to this game.
He’s had an excellent season, better than Messi this year says the question
"He’s a fantastic player, I have been aware since he was a young lad at Lyon and he’s a great player but since my time at Barcelona there have been 20 players that have come on the scene and people have asked if we can compare with Messi. 20 players.
Aguero fit after Madrid?
Could he play in later rounds?
"Right now I don’t know. He is still in Barcelona. He is getting better, i spoke with the doctors and everything is like we thought but he is still in Barcelona so I don’t know. Hopefully he can come back and start training with us but I don’t know.
Small details in CL
City need to take their opportunity?
I have the feeling today that we are ready to play the game tomorrow and do a good performance and win the game. That is my feeling. We are ready.
Champions League drive
"We want to win this competition for sure. We have to beat Madrid and teams like Madrid if we want to win. We have to beat them tomorrow and then the next rounds.
Barcelona want Eric Garcia
"He announced to us that he doesn’t want to extend his contract with MC. He has one more year and after that, he doesn’t want to extend. We want it but he doesn’t want to extend it so I imagine he wants to play in other places.
Games mean even more given Barcelona connection?
He has plenty of history with Real Madrid
"No, not especially. The fact we play against Real Madrid or not, I will always be a Barcelona supporter. It is the club where I grew up and gave me part of who I am but when I was with Bayern and played against Real Madrid or Barcelona I wanted to beat them. Nothing special. I want it for our players and our club to go to the next step, I don’t lose concentration on this kind of thing because I focus on what we have to do as a team to beat Real Madrid.
Need to react better in bad moments?
City have conceded goals in clumps in previous seasons
"Yeah, definitely. More than concede the goals is the way we concede. If they are brilliant we have to accept but most of them we could have avoided and we have to avoid making mistakes. This competition punishes you a lot. We know it, we have spoken about that the last years and we know it. If we want to make a step forward as a team to be close to winning this competition we have to be better in this area.
How world has changed
Does Guardiola miss how football was before the pandemic?
"I think all professionals, not just the manager, miss spectators. That is the reality but we have already adapted a little bit. Hopefully it depends on the health if we are going to play with fans but when it is going to happen it needs to be secure for everyone. We want kids to go to school as soon as possible, that is more important than people coming back to stadiums.
First leg advantage
Real Madrid in form now.
"It was a long time ago we played the first leg. We knew it after the game we would have another here at home. It is without our people but we will try to do a good game.
Ake and Ferran Torres reaction for Guardiola
Guardiola speaking now. A short answer!
"Welcome both of them. Next season they will be with us.
City's stronger squad than Madrid?
Asked on earlier comments.
"That’s just a general opinion of mine. Maybe we have got a better team but words are worthless if you can’t demonstrate that out on the field. It’s down to us to prove what I’ve been saying. I’ll just say we are a side that is full of goals, we have talented players in every position and everyone can contribute in scoring but it is useless to say that if we don’t show it tomorrow night. We have ot match Real Madrid in what they may have better than us which is experience and a strong mentality in these big, big games. If we match them in those areas, fate will decide but we’ll have a very good chance.
Would you prefer Hazard at less than 100%?
City are prepared for Hazard whether he plays or not.
"We want to play against opponents that have their best players on the field. You don’t need me ot tell you Hazard is one of the best in the world and he can turn a game and influence a result. It’s down to Zidane to decide whether to risk him if he isn’t fully fit but we’re aware of the dangers he can bring and we will be ready for him if he does play.
The importance of Casemiro
Still on questions for Rodri by the way.
"Every team needs someone who brings that balance and tactical discipline to the middle of the field. Skillful players with ability can turn a game in an instant but every team needs someone who is in there controlling things in the middle of the box. Casemiro is a vital cog in their machine.
We’re now onto Spanish questions so bear with us because my Spanish is non-existent and the translation is coming at the end of the answers...
Dangerous trying to protect lead?
City have a 2-1 lead
"We won 2-1 on their pitch, that is so important but the most important thing is to show that we can win this Champions League, not only this match. To win this CL we have to win our game and show we are better than anyone. The way I know this team it is the only way we can be successful.
Real Madrid as kings
Real Madrid are a big deal
"I have the same feeling, they are more than a team. They have that way of playing where you can never relax even if you are winning 3, 4-0 they always come back and have that huge personality to become the champions they have been. It is the biggest team in this competition and they show to the world but now football has changed a little bit it is so competitive the distances between teams are so narrow. I know we have the better team but we have to show it on the pitch tomorrow. If we do things well, I think everything is going to be good for us.
Rodri first year at City
He’s happy with his first year at the club
"Individually for me it has been an amazing year because of what I have learned as a football career and the way I have been involved in such an amazing team. I am so happy for what I have done but for the future I think I am so happy with what is going to come. I am very proud of what we have done but we have to keep learning and keep growing because the following years this team is going to do very good things. It is not easy being at City but for me it is a dream.
Motivation for City move?
Rodri hunting trophies
"My goal was winning every single tournament. There is one left this season, we have already achieved two and we want to make this a good season in winning the Champions League. It is a tournament this team hasn’t achieved and it is our dream. We have been close years before , it is a main goal and we are going to fight until the end.
Real Madrid statement win
Beating Real Madrid would be a statement?
"We will be happy for us to go through but beating this kind of team would be a big confidence boost for us. We know we want to win the Champions League so we can only focus on one game. It is important to win tomorrow. We are focused and the confidence of the team is to get this goal because it is so important for the club. It is a dream for everyone, for me. Tomorrow we have this amazing match that is a final for us but we have the confidence that it is a long tournament
Mood of the squad
Rodri speaks first
"We are in a good mood. We are so confident in ourselves. We are very excited for the game tomorrow and it is a long time since the last match but we have been thinking about the game and we are so focused on it. We know it is going to be very tough. If we do a good match tomorrow, for sure we are going to have lots of chances. We have made a great effort since we came back and the team is in a good mood. We are calm and ready for the match tomorrow. It is going to be very, very tough. We want to win this game because we know we can.
Here we go
The call has started so Guardiola should be arriving soon.
No more five substitutes
Guardiola liked the innovation, but a lot of coaches didn’t.
Guardiola may also want to congratulate Mikel Arteta today on his FA Cup win with Arsenal. Joleon Lescott has explained what City lost when Arteta left.
“I think Mikel Arteta’s departure to Arsenal did have an impact on Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, Lescott told the Football Index Podcast.
“Arteta was an integral member of the club so he would have left a hole and it’s difficult to cope with that appearing in the middle of a season. I know the role that Arteta played within that dressing room and he had the responsibility to keep everyone level-headed. Arteta also worked extremely hard with the players and spent a lot of one-to-one time with them that Guardiola wouldn’t necessarily have the time to do.”
Source: Manchester Evening News