• Colin Cranmer

"Manchester City is lucky to have Txiki..." - Pep Guardiola and Ilkay Gundogan pre PSG presser

A fairly lowkey press conference as both manager and midfield star Ilkay Gundogan look ahead to a pivotal Champions League match against PSG. Gundogan touched on how it is to play without a striker, the form of Joao Cancelo, and how City will approach the game. Pep Guardiola eulogized over sporting director Txiki Begiristain, stopping Lionel Messi, and a Jack Grealish fitness update.



Pep on Txiki Begiristain:

"One of the reason I extended two times is because of him"
"I would not be here without Txiki."
"Manchester City are very lucky to have Txiki Begiristain."
"You cannot imagine. I met him at home when I was 19. We are close friends, we work together incredibly well. When we win, we analyse why, when we lose we analyse why. We don't judge."
"It’s a pleasure working with him because I can do my job completely free. In good moments we share together with a glass of wine. It’s a pleasure working with people like Txiki."
"He is so settled, I see what he is doing for the club. It is the ideal situation when the sporting director trusts the manager. He knows if we don’t win, he will be sacked and I will be sacked."

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

On Jack Grealish's fitness:

"He is much better. We will see today how he feels."

Qualifying for the Champions League knock-outs:

"I had the feeling every season is tougher to qualify for the last 16. Opponents, managers, players tougher and tougher. Tomorrow we have a chance to qualify and if we do that it would be so good for the club and players. We are going to try."

Some tactical information:

"If a full back goes into midfield you can say he is an attacking midfielder. The movements of the players, on the tactics board you put out the names, but after, everyone has permission to drive in the box and has permission to get back and help."
"When we are six seasons in one team, we face all ways to face opponents. We played aggressive, some sit back. Everyone knows the quality and personality that PSG have. Of course, it will be completely different to the last game against Everton."

Pep talks Mauricio Pochettino:

"I’m pretty sure every year the managers are better. I’m pretty sure he’s an excellent manager."
"You can be a good manager and not win the trophy. You can be excellent at coaching and dealing with humans without winning titles."

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Ilkay Gundogan speaks on team-mate Joao Cancelo:

"He is really a joy to watch at the moment. He is an attacking full-back but he is strong one on one. He is very important. He is crucial. Hopefully he can maintain that level of form and help us to achieve even more wins."
"I think with Joao has been able to minimise mistakes and maximise the outcome of his individual situations. He rarely loses a ball and with the ball it feels like he always finds solutions, with a dribble, a pass, a decisive moment."

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Ilkay speaks tactics:

"When you don’t have a real striker you have to be aware of having players in the box. Our game is quite flexible. Doesn’t matter who it is, this is when you get the goals."
"Players like me who play an offensive midfield role, approached into the opponent's box to get in more scoring situations. That is probably the reason why I was able to score more goals last season than ever, this season it is quite similar."
"I mean so far it is okay [without a striker]. We played nearly the whole of last season without a striker. We had Sergio [Aguero] who was injured for quite a while last season. We somehow had to adapt and I feel like we did it quite well."
"We have adapted to not having a striker I think quite well. Our experience from last season shows we have adapted. It’s not something I think about game to game."

Gundogan previews the big game:

"We are looking forward to it. It is a joy to play these kinds of teams and to see ourselves how we are able to do against these kinds of opponents."
"I think the biggest challenge is that both managers [Pochettino and Guardiola] know each other quite well. Unfortunately he was able to beat us in the past quite regularly and in important games."
"For us, it's more about the approach of the game, the way we want to play, the way we control possession, create chances. I've no doubt if we do that in the best possible way, with patience, we'll play a really good game and get three points."
"He [Marco Verratti] had a great game. Unfortunately, I was not able to play in the first leg because of injuries but I watched at home and totally agree he did really well. He didn’t lose a ball."

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Ilkay speaks on the youth:

"They'll get more important for us. Cole already played some games, James is starting too. Phil's the best example for these guys. When they have the patience and hunger to get better and adapt they already have a bright future."

And on the Champions League in general:

"I just think that having that game of the final last season still in our minds will give us some more motivation even though it is not needed. Once you have been in the final you always want to go back."
"I'll try my best to get to the final, whether it's this year or another. It's about that will to go as far as possible and that combination, a little bit of luck, right qualities and players. We can do it, that should be the target for us."



Written by: @coIgcra


All quotes as quoted by 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.