"Out with illness..." – Nathan Ake and Pep Guardiola pre RB Leipzig Press Conference
Nathan Ake and Pep Guardiola faced the media shortly after the Manchester City team arrived in Germany ahead of the first leg of their Champions League round-of-sixteen tie with RB Leipzig, with the big news heading into the game that Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte had not travelled.
First up, Nathan Ake.
Playing more at left-back following Joao Cancelo's exit:
"Of course, as a player you want to play as much as possible and contribute, I've been playing more as a left-back, centre-back, all over, but I'm happy to be getting opportunities."
Left-back / left of a back three position:
"It's been okay, it's quite clear. The manager always explains what he wants, and the tactics, he doesn't expect me to make 100 forward runs and score every game but he knows what he can get from me. Every game you learn more but I've played there before so it's not too unknown."
Adaptation to City over the years:
"The first season when I arrived was difficult settling in and with injuries... Last season I was already improving and understanding more about what I needed to do to get in the team... I'm just eager to learn more and be consistent until the end of the season."
Competing on all fronts:
"Every competition we play there is pressure. Every game we have to win. We want to win every trophy possible."
On Premier League form:
"It's been a little frustrating at times, you take one step forward and a little one back in terms of results. The play was okay last game but not the result. We have to take confidence from that, I don't think they'll be much thinking of playing differently because it's the Champions League. We just have to go forward with the same mentality."
On RB Leipzig:
"We know them quite well from last season. They were very tough games. A lot of energy on counter-attack they are very fast and strong."
Next up, Pep Guardiola.
De Bruyne and Laporte absences:
"Out with illness. I don't know [if they will be ready for the weekend]."
Blow to lose De Bruyne for such a big night?
"Both, it is what is during the season, unfortunately. He didn't feel good right after the game with Forest on Sunday, yesterday Ayme didn't feel good. It happens sometimes."
On RB Leipzig:
"Right after the draw, I felt that it would be a tough opponent. We know the quality of them for many years. A culture for young players, recruitment, clear patterns of play, a lot of play in the middle, and physicality in German football in the transition they are unstoppable. Many respect for this club and what they've done. Last year with Jesse Marsch and [Christopher] Nkunku we struggle. Here we lost, okay we had qualified, but we struggled. Every season they've qualified for the Champions League I know the quality and it will be tough, tough two games. Try and make it a good performance and have a good result to go back to Manchester."
On the Champions League:
"It's a fantastic tournament. I love it. It's a privilege. I don't know how far we go but we are here. Just to qualify, going through the group stage is difficult. That's why the dream is to get a good result tomorrow and go to the quarter-final. We dress beautifully to fly and go to Europe to try and show our game."
More on the Champions League and his mentality:
"I would say if my career finished tomorrow I would be more than blessed with what I've done at Barcelona, Bayern and here. To do what I've done in Europe in such a small amount of time. We want to do our best. In the end, destiny is already written. I had the feeling what we have done for many years, whatever happens, I do, personally I'm going to fail. Nothing will be enough. That's why I enjoy it, after the press conference I'll have a good meal, watch Madrid vs Liverpool, Napoli is always a pleasure and then I'll prepare for the game."
Phil Foden in midfield?
"He can play there, still I have the feeling he's young. Some maturity to read what happens in the middle because when you play there many things happen and you have to read what happens to react. He's still so young. The skills he can do it absolutely. Phil is really good at playing in the [right] pockets [where De Bruyne plays] but it's not just that, sometimes you have to read when the ball is right, left, when to drop."
On the team:
"The last game against Nottingham was our highest standards. I love the way we play but we didn’t win because it’s football. I don’t have the answer. Today the training is there. That does not mean we are going to win but I have a good feeling."
Suggestion that City are more predictable with Erling Haaland:
"I would say I understand what Titi [Thierry Henry] wants to say but being predictable doesn't depend on Haaland it's about the process. Then people say we concede on the goal left side because Bernardo is there but people don't see we did what we did against Nottingham because Bernardo is there to help us [with the process]. To be less predictable we need more runners when we arrive in the final third but to arrive in the final third we need the process. I'm not stupid to say Bernardo is a left-back but he can do it, 1v1 he is a good defender. We've done it in the past with Zinchenko, and Delph. We have scored the most goals in the Premier League. We can do good things with Erling as well."
Will we see more of Kalvin Phillips?
"Maybe, yeah. I would love it, but Rodri is playing at an incredible level. Sooner or later hopefully I can do it [play him more], but we are delighted. A fantastic boy. Today with a lot of stats and data in the future, the mood of the dressing room will be the most important thing and Kalvin helps us do this [by creating a good vibe]."
"Absolutely [he is world class]. A shame for his injury and he missed the World Cup. We saw in Manchester last year [his quality]. I always like to play [against] the best players in the best sides."
Written by: @NA1907_
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