"He's crazy. The guy is crazy..." – Pep Guardiola pre Atletico Madrid Press Conference
Pep Guardiola faced the media ahead of Manchester City's visit to the Wanda Metropolitano for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Atletico Madrid, with his side taking a 1-0 advantage from the first leg courtesy of a Kevin De Bruyne winner at the Etihad.
The boss reacted to Fernandinho revealing that he is likely to leave City at the end of the season, provided the latest on the fitness of Ruben Dias – who yesterday returned to training after his hamstring injury layoff – and offered the latest on Cole Palmer, who has suffered injury problems of his own.
Pep on team news:
"He [Ruben Dias] travels with us, the rest all are fit."
More on Ruben Dias:
"From the start, no [he will not start]. He makes one training session and six weeks off. The fact he's back is incredible and we have a big schedule until the end of the season. Everyone will be important."
Pep on Fernandinho saying he's leaving at the end of the season:
"Oh. I didn't know. You give me the news. I didn't hear it. We will see what happens. I don't know what will happen. He is so important. I'll ask him."
More on Fernandinho:
"At the end of the season we talk, maybe it's because of his family, more minutes. I would love it [him staying]. We will talk. The role he plays this season, I like the people who behave behind the scenes. I know what he has done, behind me, he handles many of our players and stars for the benefit of the team. I praise him and he was here when I arrive. We know him well, from day one to now always here. An incredible player for Man City. There are things nobody knows but I know exactly."
More on Fernandinho:
"Maybe Txiki knows and didn't tell me. I don't know, it was a surprise. I know his intentions, another player might have benefits or hide something. Fernandinho is not. I said many times, I want him to be happy. We play tomorrow for him. Give him the best farewell moment reaching the semi-finals, after try to go through. I understand, play with happiness, if he wants to play it's understandable. If a player wants to leave I understand completely, look at Ferran Torres. I don't want anyone unsatisfied. For his age, for his family in Brazil. The club will help him."
Pep on Cole Palmer:
"[He's] much better, I don't think he travels. Yesterday he feels better, but we'll see. If he's better he'll travel. We try to avoid surgery, he's better. He couldn't play more because of injury [after Swindon in the FA Cup]."
Pep on Ederson after his goal-line moment against Liverpool:
"He's crazy. The guy is crazy. Sometimes I think he doesn't feel something. Concede a goal is calm, makes a mistake is calm. So stable, as a keeper is fantastic. In that moment I thought it wasn't as close but I saw the image, one inch to the goal. Doesn't matter, Eddy is what he is. So good that he's so stable, doesn't feel the pressure. He forgets the previous action as soon as possible. The risk that he played the ball is nothing, the next action he's ready. It's really good."
"In that period, we are close to the end of the season. We have to be grateful to be here. I would like to have more time to prepare but it's because we've done really well so far. In that moment we aren't tired, we are so close to the semi-finals, we can lose because we make a bad performance or the opponent is better but we are not tired."
Pep on if he's at his peak:
"I don't know. I feel good, my staff help me to be more relaxed than I was at the beginning. I trust my players. For the game, I know how important it is, how opinions change. I travel there to win, to do a good performance. We can be better, to figure out. It will be different, for the fact we play here. [Atletico] defending all the time, it won't happen. For their stadium, living for the manager. When they defend deep, we try to create chances. The first leg we know Atletico in knockout stages are so difficult. I told the team we did perfectly. It's the biggest quality they have."
Pep on the importance of defensive structure:
"To win trophies you have to be solid, not concede chances. When you have the ball, defend well with the ball. What you do with the ball is the best way to defend. There are moments we don't have the ball, set pieces, then we have to defend. You cannot win things if you don't concede few. Riyad, Phil, Gundo, are not defensive players but they run from day one, solid as a team. Solid tomorrow, it will be difficult to get to the semi-finals."
Pep answering Spanish questions:
Pep on Kevin De Bruyne:
"We've got people all over the field who can eliminate players on the field. Kevin is good when he attacks the spaces, he's very good between the lines. Very difficult to find spaces vs Atletico. One-on-one he's almost unstoppable – combines with other players. A great intuition to find spaces, he deserves all praise he gets. The goal [in the first leg] was down to his great quality, he's an amazing player to attack space if it's huge or reduced."
Pep on Diego Simeone:
"If he won here, he wouldn't have been criticised, managers are only criticised if they lose. He's given Atletico a decade of success, he's not done things badly. We get praise when we win, when we lose it's terrible. I think my answer was clear."
Pep on the type of game he's expecting:
"It will be a different game, not like last week. They're at home with their fans behind them. From what I remember from knockout games they have really exciting moments in the Calderon, at the Wanda, they create problems, defend and counter. They will be more intense in the top half of the field than they were the other night. We adapt and if we're losing we go with everything to get it back. If we're on top maybe we sit a bit deeper."
Written by: @NA1907_
Certain quotes as quoted by Manchester Evening News.
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