"Brugge is much more important than the United game..." - Pep and Kyle Walker pre Brugge presser
Pep Guardiola and Kyle Walker discuss a range of subjects ahead of City's crucial matchday four Champions League game at home against Club Brugge. Pep spoke on the Belgian's bouncing back from their defeat in the return game, Ilkay Gundogan, Aymeric Laporte, and Kevin De Bruyne's form this season and Antonio Conte's appointment at Tottenham.
Kyle Walker talked about hit fitness in relation to Sergio Aguero's scare at Barcelona, Jack Grealish's start, Manchester City's defence and attack, and getting back to winning ways.
Pep on Antonio Conte:
"His career speaks perfectly for itself. He’s had success everywhere and he is an outstanding manager."
Pep on the week ahead:
"This game [vs. Club Brugge] is much more important than the United game..."
"It [this game] gives us an incredible step forward to qualify for the last 16. In the Premier League many games, here just six, now three left. Not much - and they are decisive the third and fourth games. The most important games and we need to take it seriously."
"You win or lose but I'm only concerned with the way we play. The defeat was tough, you know the calendar how demanding it is. What we have done the last month, we want to finish this run well after the United game..."
"Except the last 10-15 minutes after the disallowed goal, we felt it 10 vs 11. But we know what we will face this season, continue and be positive. Tomorrow in this important competition, it's the most important game we have."
"I'm pretty sure they [Club Brugge] will adjust things to punish us. We have to adjust to get better. It's normal, it will be a completely different game."
"The way we are playing is some of the best moments since we have been here. How solid, the process, many things we are doing really well."
"Many circumstances we have to improve but the way we're playing we are doing very well."
"We make incredible runs, 100 points, 98 points, last season 21 wins in a row. Never at the start I think we win 21 in a row. Just focussed on winning against Brugge. Depends on doing many good things to give you the chance to win games..."
"At the same time we are still making mistakes, defensively the back four, the pressing. It's normal, every game, I saw the game against Brugge I thought how many bad things we done. After the game I thought how good it was."
"Offensively we done it, defensively not a good performance. We can always do better, even before Stamford Bridge the consistency in the way we play has been fantastic."
Pep speaks on things in general:
"Last season we didn't have any option but to be champions. Every season we start, there are many contenders. The typical ones, I thought Arsenal would be there only one game a week and no Europe. West Ham are good. Depends on every season, at the end we qualify the real contenders in the last third of the season."
"Every season is tough, top managers, teams reinforce. Only I am concerned our standards, the way we're playing. Try to build up something special to get better. Every club wants to be better. This is the challenge to maintain our level."
Pep wish Aguero all the best:
"I spoke with his agent. Difficult news for him and his family. We wish him a safe recovery, doesn't matter the time. Health is most important than anything else. He's in good hands, he will take care of himself."
"I wish him the best recovery and he can come back to play again, otherwise he enjoy his life and enjoy what he has done. I don't know what he has, he has to be careful and safe for the rest of his life."
Pep spoke on the form of Ilkay Gundogan, Aymeric Laporte, then Kevin De Bruyne:
"There are injuries, highs and lows in a career. What a player has done last season doesn't mean he does it again. Ilkay [Gundogan] everybody know how important he is, he's intelligent, clever, always thinking. He was injured, needs time. We need him like all the players. There are some players maybe not the top level but in a few weeks will be. Now there are players who have to play because they're in good form but will drop. It's normal, every day train. I give credit what this player has done the last five years, every day every competition. Tomorrow we have a chance, every year is more difficult. It's just six games, lose more than one or two it's difficult and we already lost in Paris."
"He's [Aymeric Laporte] not having a bad moment, he's playing incredibly well all season. You and me cannot make mistakes because we are sitting. It's about how you recover from the mistakes."
"You cannot imagine how good a player he is. When you have a long career like him you have highs and lows. He's training and knows he has our complete support, playing minutes, good or bad level. I was a player I know all the time you cannot perform incredibly well. He knows better than anyone he can do better, we are with him, I know what he's doing every day to get back to his best. They have three weeks holidays every year. Sometimes the fatigue takes its place. The players have to make their best performance every three days. Players with physical strength it's easier. No human being can do it."
Pep gives a update on the Manchester City squad:
"Everybody is good."
Kyle Walker on Sergio Aguero:
"It's a shock when it happens to anyone. I played with Christian [Eriksen]. You think about them and the family. I'm glad they're okay."
"We're all fit athletes and train hard every day. You have to take precautions and his health is more important than football at the minute. We're all human in more ways than one. We make mistakes, we put in good performances. Health is key, without health you're nothing. As long as Sergio's okay. I know Christian is because I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago."
"I played in the game at Spurs when Muamba went down. Seeing it happen with a few people which isn't nice. The main priority is health, he should take as much time, being fit and healthy is the main priority."
"I feel fine. With me a big part of my game is my fitness and endurance. It's no days off for me. I try to get in the gym as much as possible, make sure I'm eating well so I can perform on a matchday."
Kyle Walker on his compatriot Jack Grealish:
"We've all seen what Jack can do. He's come into a new team, new philosophy, different players. People take time, the talent's there. I've had the pleasure to play with him at international level."
"The way he can draw players in, it's a nightmare for defenders. It takes time, maybe not the same goals and assists at Villa but we share the load here."
Walker speak on how he sees things at City:
"I wouldn't say we've lacked in goals, We put five past Arsenal, against Brugge. It's a case when we don't score we need a striker. When we do we're doing well without one."
"As a team, we lost Kun in the summer, the hero, the poster boy for this club. Apart from that there's no egos, we all run for each other. There's eleven players on the pitch not one, two or three superstars."
"Last season we were rock solid at the back. Ruben was key in that in shutting up shop and giving us clean sheets and a platform to win games. It's not just a back four or five, you defend from the front, defend and attack as a collective."
"You can't just pinpoint us as defenders, I'm not shying away, some goals are defensive problems. As a collective we attack and defend together. Maybe the boss isn't happy with the collective. He said he watched the Brugge game, he's probably been researching that and picked up something he feels can help the team and he'll give his opinions on that in training and in the meeting."
And on the week ahead:
"It's important we get back to winning ways. We lost at West Ham and Crystal Palace. The standard's dropped in the last two games, the best thing is we can put things right. It's a massive week with the derby."
"We need the morale back up so we can attack this game and go into the derby with better form and more confidence than we've got at the moment."
"Hopefully we can provide the same performance and resolve [as we did in Brugge]. It's important we get back to winning and go on a run."
Written by: @coIgcra
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