"I have many doubts about the line-up" - Pep Guardiola pre Sheffield United Press Conference
Pep Guardiola discussed a range of topics with the press in his FA Cup semi-final pre-match press conference, including 'the treble', Phil Foden, Nathan Ake, team selection and rotation, and how he told Erling Haaland exactly what was going to happen against Bayern Munich.
Nathan Ake injury update?
"He's not ready for tomorrow, but I don't know about the damage yet."
Is Phil Foden ready?
"He was on the bench after two days and three weeks without training. Each day that passes he will be better."
Three semi-final exits in a row, want to win the FA Cup?
"Hopefully we can have it. Last season we arrived here, last three or four years, and we don't perform well. One reason is the fatigue, this year we still have it. The Champions League quarter-final is so draining and we have to recover. Every season I have the feeling we're not physically ready, hopefully this time we will be."
Easier opponent than Liverpool in the last FA Cup semi-final?
"No, I don't have that feeling. Sheffield United when I saw yesterday when we land from Munich, they play quite similar to when Chris Wilder [was there] in first season. They are one or two games away from being promoted. It will be an extremely difficult game tomorrow for the reasons I say before the quality of the opponent. The set pieces, link in the channels, link up with McBurnie, they are so aggressive in the channels. We will have to deserve to be in the final."
Tommy Doyle and McAtee are cup-tied:
"Tommy Doyle really good from the beginning and McAtee struggled at the beginning but [he is] now playing a lot of games. Unfortunately, they can not play. We would have loved [for them to play]. We loan players to get experience and what better experience, that benefits Manchester City, than the FA Cup semi final against a team in the Premier League. It would have been incredible for their development. But the rule is the rule and unfortunately they can not play."
"I have to see, I have to smell, I have to talk, I have to see how the players feel today. After the [Bayern] game in the locker room, they could not celebrate it for how exhausted they are. We could not have more sequences of passes in Munich that help us rest with the ball, and we didn't rest much with the ball and they run a lot. At first was difficult. The previous seasons I rotated a lot and it was not good, I have to think about it. I have many doubts tomorrow about the line-up. I have to see the training session today and talk with many of them and see what is my feeling, of course they are going to tell me 'I want to play, I want to play', that's for sure, It's difficult to find a player saying 'I don't want to play'. But in the same time we have to be sure that people are in minimum conditions [to play]. It's not just about this game, it's because we come from many, many, many, many, many, a lot of games, every three days, four days, three days, four days [between games], with a lot of games and knowing that if we lose we are out - the fatigue, mentally, the fatigue always is big. We have to see, we have to wait."
"On the other side it's amazing to be here knowing we can reach a final. When you have this desire to still be there the fatigue converts to energy, something positive. We fight every game to be there. The human being has an incredible ability to regenerate [energy] if the mind is positive."
Worried about Arsenal?
"No, no. I saw we have four days [after the Sheffield United game before Arsenal]. One more day than we have now. We wanted to play on Sunday but I understand United played yesterday so they have to play on Sunday. When I rotate team it's not because it's an FA Cup semi-final it's because it was after a demanding, demanding game. I will have to debate with my staff what's the best."
A journalist brings up 'the treble':
"I'm so happy that you asked ten questions without asking about the treble. The other journalists are not in the sky, that might be why. Look how far away before we talk about that."
"Just eleven games? Yeah, yeah, just eleven games. We're far away. I've said many times, how many times in this amazing country have a treble been done? It's one. Our neighbours. [Getting excited] About the treble? Not at all."
Dressing room scene after Bayern?
"Incredible, satisfied. Happy to be in the semi-finals three years in a row. People sit down, start to dream, a bit of music, go on their phones, hug, that's it. We didn't take any photos..."
First time Haaland scored with three touches:
"It's football. Football is not a programme, artificial intelligence, no. He has few touched because Upamecano slipped. I said before the game, Erling, in the 60th minute, Upamecano is going to slip you will go through and score. This is going to happen. The best way to score is with the first touch because the goalkeeper and defenders and ready but sometimes you need touches because the situation decides what you need to do."
Written by: @colgeogcra
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