"I have a feeling that our fans will be incredible" - Pep Guardiola pre Aston Villa Press Conference
Pep Guardiola's final pre match press conference of the season has taken place ahead of the final Premier League game of the season at home to Aston Villa. The title is as stake and the boss was asked how he is feeling ahead of the big game, as well as giving fitness updates on John Stones and Kyle Walker as they returned to training this week, Ilkay Gundogan's future, and other things.
Kyle Walker and John Stones are back:
"We have incredible doctors and physios. They [Kyle Walker and John Stones] have trained today. We will see tomorrow. It is good for us to have them back."
Other injury concerns:
"No, I don't think so."
City last won the title on the final day against Brighton in 2019, is this similar?
"I don't have to tell them [the player about the past], they believe. Different opponents, different opponents. It's not a similar game, we know what we have to do. Be ourselves, give everything we have to win the game."
"The images you have to be careful, at Goodison Park and Port Vale [last night] and other games. Championship semi-finals. Lots of emotions, happiness, some alcohol, it's dangerous. We have to try to behave as good as possible, celebrate in the right way in the right moment. It's dangerous what happened yesterday, I understand Patrick [Vieira], you never know how people will react."
The will to win:
"Before we won the first [Premier League] title, it would be the most incredible moment of our lives. The day after you feel 'oh!' - the day after the sun rise and people start to demand more. Satisfaction is there, but after one, two days it's forgotten. It has top be like that. It's nice, we have incredible focus to try to do it. In the end, the feeling hasn't changed much. We try to be ourselves, do what we need to do. Football is emotional, but it's a game. The game means luck, a thousand things you cannot control. The way we play, most of the time we play to win, there are aspects we can't control. If you want it, you can't control. Some things can happen. But it in the right manner, try of course, an incredible desire to win, we would be incredibly happy. After one, two, three days, we continue to start again..."
Who do the people want to win the title?
"I'm sure my English isn't good [enough to explain this] after four or five years. The teams with more history, more titles have more supporters. It happens in Spain and Germany and Italy. We are outsiders in the last decade. In that moment, of course people don't want Liverpool or us to win. Liverpool fans want to win. I'm not saying all the country are Liverpool fans but in general they are a team with more titles. Maybe I'm wrong, but in countries all around the world there are two or three teams people support more than the other ones. Liverpool, United, Arsenal have a lot of history, we are new, how many times we arrive in this history? Paul Dickov['s goal vs Gillingham], It's why we feel it's a privilege and won't waste this opportunity to enjoy the 95 minutes."
Could be the first title won at the Etihad for Pep:
"It's good, I would prefer winning two days ago. It is what it is, important is being there, a chance to win a game to be champions. So nice, a privilege to arrive this stage."
Spoke to the players about possible pitch invasion?
"We don't talk about it, I'm thinking we won't talk about it."
Blackpool's Jack Daniels came out as gay recently:
"Hopefully won't be good news in the future. This is the target we have as society. Congratulations for the courage, I'm sure it's not easy how we are as a society [with] many things. Hopefully in a few years it will be absolutely normal that one person can express his sexuality or appearance."
Why is the Premier League so satisfying to win?
"Because it's more difficult. A lot of weeks, a lot of games struggle with injuries, good and bad moments, different situations. The success is being there in the last few years. Liverpool were unstoppable that year and we were not good enough, the rest we were there. When you fight the Premier League it gives the sense you enjoy the locker room. We are happier in our lives, when you win and win it makes good training and environment. It's not just one single game like the FA Cup, it's a consistent team. You want to change different things, experiences. In terms of Premier League, it's more every day, it's nice."
"I'm not saying Champions League is not important. We'd love to be in Paris next week. Always to win 38 games, or 6-7 games is different. Always I like it, it's nice. We are close."
"We are together since day one. He's one of them [who] became captain. We experience many good moments and bad moments together. Generous guy, puts the team first over him. He knows it, I'm more than happy to have met him in my life and work together. We wish him all the best in the future and his last season in Brazil. Maybe he will be a manager. I'm sure we'll meet again in the future."
City won the title last season:
"Quite similar, we behave really well, our opponents are better than last season, Liverpool had lots of injuries. This season was better because there were spectators. In terms of how we played and behaved, in points, goals, conceded."
Pressure has been put on by Liverpool:
"Maybe they feel [Liverpool] the same. It's not unexpected. I said a month ago, we need more than 90 points. The last 51 games Liverpool lost one. When you face this kind of team, you have to be good and win the last game. Otherwise with their results they are fantastic."
Will Pep go through the same emotions as Roberto Mancini did in 2012?
"It's difficult to control emotions - you know what you're playing for. We spoke about that, maybe you have to live something unexpected. React best as possible, if it's over, it's not over. When it's over, think it's not over. Do exactly what we have done the last months, go for it. At the end, we play just a football game. We are not going to do something new. We arrive 2-3 hours before, we prepare vs Villa as we do always. Go to the plan and beat Aston Villa. At the end we can make theories but it's just a football game. Eleven players, a good manager. Apart from that we didn't do different. Today we train, a normal Premier League game, northing special. Importance of the game, they feel it."
Have you spoken to Jack Grealish?
"I didn't speak with him. I can if you want? I'm sure he maybe helped for Villa to be promoted to the Premier League and remaining in the Premier League for two seasons. For him, [he's] never won the Premier League, he must be so excited. We'd [all] be happy to have one. My advice to him is to be [as] happy as possible playing football. The feeling after 2/3 days, all the effort, your name on the list [of honours]. If he's comfortable getting better, t's the most important. In one year, [maybe] we defend and be champions. Next year someone has to take it off us. On Sunday, in one year we see if he retains it or plays every game next season, it's nice."
What's the situation on Ilkay Gundogan?
"He got married, congratulations. I don't know his travel, he had permission. If you ask me personally, I want him [at Manchester City] next season. There is no-one thinking he cannot be here. If he wants to leave, as a club we don't know it. All the Twitter accounts saying he will leave, I don't know. Maybe you know more than me..."
Guardiola style of play:
"I have a vision of style, but it depends on players. The way we played in Barcelona, Munich, here. The players are different. It's completely different. You have to adapt to your players. They gave me a lot, the problems they create as a team. Absolutely we are better than when we start six years ago. For my players, the opponents, to arrive in these stages you have to suffer a lot. That's why it's so difficult."
If a Barca fan could help Barca win the league, would it help...
"We did it, we won two times. In these situations it wasn't in our hands. Madrid lost a game. Tomorrow it's nice to have the chance to win at home."
...like Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa helping Liverpool?
"It's completely different, we cannot compare. We're in different positions. Both teams try to win. Sometimes you can't control. I said to the players it's just a football game, don't focus on anything else. If you think about it being one more title, it's a football game. Ings and Watkins, how we face this process, Luiz as a holding midfielder, Digne moving inside or outside, this is what we think about. I'm sure our people will be as one. I have a feeling our supporters will be incredible. As a club we have been here many times. Anxious, nervous? No way. If we concede or struggle, come on, try again, continue and do it. It's the best way to approach this kind of situation. Not 'what happens if we lose?' What is the movement and set pieces of Villa? This is the only way, all that matters."
Written by: @coIgcra
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