Spanish coach Pep Guardiola discussed the second leg of his team’s Champions League semifinal matchup against Real Madrid with the media. In the press room in Etihad Campus. Pep’s side picked up another three points in their title race in the Premier League with a 3-0 victory over Everton. Manchester City lead the Premier League with four points ahead of second place Arsenal. Manchester City has an FA Cup final against Manchester United to be played next month.
Five years without losing at home in the Champions League?
“We love this competition. Tomorrow, we’re going to try.”
Four games to the treble:
“My legacy is already exceptional here, isn’t it? We know the importance of the Champions League, yes, but we have to live it and enjoy the moment. We are incredibly lucky to be here. It’s in our hands, we don’t depend on anything exceptional, we just have to win a game. I have a very positive feeling.”
On the atmosphere at the Etihad:
“That counts, but ahead of us there is Real Madrid, who will play a great game. We have to improve on the first leg, try to get more balls forward in attack. We have a lot of respect for Madrid, it’s a challenge, a challenge and we’re going to go for everything.”
City at the best moment?
“We feel very good, the sensations are positive. But to go through we have to play much better than last week. We have to do what we know and what we’ve been doing for many years. It’s not just about grit and enthusiasm, we have to do better than we did at the Bernabeu.”
On the Champions League:
“It’s a dream come true to be here. Nobody guarantees us to be here, so once we’ve arrived, let’s go for it. And to be together in the difficult moments, because we will suffer. I know the fans will be with us. They are not going to leave us alone. In the difficult moments they will be with us.”
On Kevin De Bruyne:
“He’s at 100 percent, yes.”
On who is the favourite:
“I don’t know, I’m not able to say that. We are in the play-offs every season and in the end the team that deserves it wins. In my head is to do well and convince the fans that we don’t have to do anything different. We have the feeling that we are freer at home and that we play more relaxed. If we are ourselves… I have played ten semi-finals and lost seven. I know the feeling, but there are many things you can’t control in the world of football.”
On what improvements will he make:
“I’m not going to say, but we’re not going to do anything special either. We have to play more relaxed and be more fluid. They will also be more relaxed.”
A match of transitions?
“I’d sign last year’s 4-3. Sometimes the match dictates itself. A lot of things come into play in this competition that neither the players nor the coaches can control. We have a plan, but they will have a plan too. We’ll have to react quickly if things don’t go the way we think they will.”
On his seven years at City:
“I didn’t think I’d be here for so long, I didn’t have such high hopes… I’m happy with this regularity.”
Walker says you are indebted to the owners:
“You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself. I think the players have done a lot, even though they don’t think they have. They just have to play a game of football. They know how good Madrid are and it’s a blessing to be here.”
Why are Madrid so superior in the Champions League?
“I don’t know, if I knew I would try to copy the method. But I would say because they always had players of the highest level. When we won it with Barça it was because we had players of a very high level.”
The level of Madrid’s players:
“I always approach this competition thinking about what we can do. Obviously, we know Madrid. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to control them.”
On his legacy:
“The legacy is that they had a great time for many years. And the legacy is that people will remember that we scored a lot of goals, that they scored very few… and that we won a lot of titles. In these years here I’ve had a great time. It’s like a good book. And maybe in Europe people don’t see any of this, but here they’ve had a great time. This is a legacy.”
On the tactics:
“When you prepare for a match, you think about yourself and you think about your opponent, but you can’t invent anything either. Because there is no time. We’ll do what we always do.”
On Manchester City’s keys for tomorrow’s match:
“To be us. Tomorrow at 8 o’clock, at UK time, we have to play our best game. We have to get up, dress well and play the best game we can. If not, it’s not good enough.”
Featured image: (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)