The Spanish coach looking for his first Champions League title in Manchester and the treble: “I know we won’t be complete without winning this cup. Sometimes playing under such pressure is fantastic and necessary”
May 23 – MANCHESTER
Manchester City’s treble operation has already started. On the pitch he starts from Brighton, and from Roberto De Zerbi’s team that Pep Guardiola admires so much. But in the head of the coach who has just won the Premier League for the fifth time in 6 years, there is already the last appointment, the Champions League final on June 10th. “I started watching a few minutes of Inter, some situations, and I’m really impressed” Pep reveals about the opponents in Istanbul.
City have never faced Inter in their history and the final is still a long way off. And not just because the English champions will first have to play the last two Premier League games and then with United on 3 June in the first Manchester derby which assigns the FA Cup. The Champions League is something else though: it’s the obsession that City have been chasing since the arrival of Guardiola. And then Inter is already in the coach’s thoughts. “They impressed me with what they do, with their body language – he says -. After I started looking at them, I called some friends who live in Italy to ask their opinion on Inter: they all told me to stay because they are serious. There was no need for them to tell me: I had already understood it by looking at those few minutes, those situations”. Pep will have time to prepare his City for the match against the Nerazzurri, to give the players the indications they need to make a difference (“Our coach is a genius and he’ll tell us how to beat them” said Jack Grealish immediately after the semi-final against Real) , but in the meantime he has already begun to study, to understand the secrets that have brought Inzaghi’s team to the end of the competition. One that Pep wants to win at all costs, but he also knows he can lose. “Of course Inter can beat us. They have won this trophy three times and we have none, but we want to play our best so that it doesn’t happen” he said in a broader speech, in which he explained that the way he understands football and sport he can win or lose but that what really matters is always giving his best, what he expects from his City in each of the last four games of a 2022-23 which can become legendary for the blue part of Manchester.
However, Guardiola sees in Inter the expression of that mentality that made him say that a final against an Italian team is the worst that could happen. “It is no coincidence that there are 3 teams in the finals of the three cups – says Pep – and that others have played in the semifinals. I played in Italy, I know the mentality that Italian teams have in the finals. Let’s not forget that twenty years ago Serie A was the best league in the world and everyone, players and coaches, wanted to play there. And that Italy has won the World Cup four times. They still have that mentality, and for this reason I think a final against an Italian will be complicated”.
Inter on June 10 for City could represent the last obstacle towards the legend, the last team to beat to win the cup that would give the dynasty that Guardiola built in Manchester the international legitimacy it still lacks. For this reason, the goal is to get there polished, especially on a mental level, better if also recovering Nathan Aké, the defender who has been sidelined for a month with two injuries but who has reached the final phase of his recovery journey. “Since I’ve been here we’ve won a lot: sometimes I think it’s unfair that we need the Champions League to get credit for what we’ve done – admits Pep -, but that’s the way it is and we have to accept it. I know we won’t be complete without also winning the Champions League. Sometimes playing with this pressure is great, necessary. We often talk to each other, we tell each other that we have to do it. But at the same time, if we don’t do it and they keep winning, I’m sure sooner or later we will. But now we have the chance to be in the final and we have to try”. For this Pep has already put Inter in his sights.
May 23, 2023 (change May 23, 2023 | 23:37)
© REPRODUCTION RESERVED