"I'm very happy that I stayed..." – Nathan Ake and Pep Guardiola pre Copenhagen Press Conference
Nathan Ake and Pep Guardiola faced the media ahead of Manchester City's clash away at FC Copenhagen, with the Blues having the chance to secure a round-of-16 position with a win against the Danish champions six days after they were put away for five.
First up, Nathan Ake.
Ake on the start of his season and competition:
"I am happy. I played a few games and then got a setback, but thankfully it wasn't too bad. I feel I'm progressing well and hopefully, I'll continue like this. I was not worried about competition [when Manuel Akanji was signed]. These are great guys and we have to do what is best for the team."
"My first season was not great with injuries but in the second season, you get used to it. The manager uses all the players in the squad. There are so many games nowadays [to maintain rhythm despite rotation] and training."
Marking Erling Haaland in training:
"It's a good challenge. It's a good test. Training is a little bit different to the games, of course, but it is a good contest. He is difficult to mark and he can so so many things. For us as defenders, training is about knowing where he wants to get the ball and where we can play to him. He has got so many attributes."
More on Haaland:
"He has all the attributes. Sometimes you come up against strikers who have some great attributes but [he] has them all. He has left foot, right foot, he is strong and he has pace. It makes him very difficult. Everyone is in a very good place and he is getting a lot of press and importance, but he continues to work in training and demands from himself and it shows what kind of team we have."
How close did you come to leaving City in the summer?:
"I'm just very happy to be here. Sometimes these things happen in football [transfer specualtion/talks]. I'm very happy that I stayed. That's all I can say."
On FC Copenhagen:
"We have to be prepared and focused, like in the last game, and hopefully we can do well. In the second half, they changed their shape a little bit and created a few more dangerous moments."
Long road ahead:
"At the moment I am very happy and the team is happy, we are in a good flow, but it is only the beginning. We have so much more to do."
Next up, Pep Guardiola.
Does lack of World Cup involvement impact Haaland's selection?:
"No. National trainers will decide what to do, so I will not think about that. Tomorrow we will do the same. They don't think about us, so we will not think about them. We have to speak with the players and physios [to decide the lineup for tomorrow]. It's true there is a risk of fatigue [in the latter stages of games]. We must involve everyone."
Has the team adapted to Haaland?:
"If it [has] happened, it works so far. [Because] he is a nice guy and understands quickly. He is able to do this for the team, but we need to work together and that has happened. He is one of the best [strikers I have had]. I have many very, very good strikers and Erling is one of them. I speak a lot about him, but sometimes I should not because the numbers, they do this."
On the team's defending:
"In the last game better. Generally, it is good. We can do better and I am satisfied. We play three games in not many days. After the Liverpool game, we have one week. We do not have much time to reflect on how maybe we are attacking or defending. You do not maybe have time to think about specific situations. For the pace, they can not handle [so many games]."
On FC Copenhagen:
"We play one week later and they have pride and they want to perform. But at the same time, we have a chance to conclude our qualification for the next stage and we are going to try tomorrow."
"We are not going to underestimate them with the nature of the players they have. It will be no exception. If it does not go well, it will not be because we do not play well it will be because Copenhagen plays well. We want to get into the 16 and that is what we will try to do."
Written by: @NA1907_ Some quotes as quoted by Manchester Evening News and Manchester City. Follow our Twitter account for reliable, live updates on all the latest news surrounding this story and everything Manchester City in real time.