"People expect us to win the Champions League and we want to..." - Pep and KDB pre Brugge Presser
Pep Guardiola and Kevin De Bruyne spoke to the press before City travel to Brugge to face the Belgian champions in matchday three of the Champions League. Gabriel Jesus and Ederson's situations were discussed among a range of topics including last season's campaign.
Pep on Gabriel Jesus and Ederson:
"We see the protocols, they couldn't land here unless they isolate ten days. We join them tonight in the hotel. Tomorrow they do the preparations, maybe play, maybe not. They come back with us to Manchester for the routine daily life."
"Both, with Gabriel and Eddy we are together 4-5 years, we don't need anything special to be ready. We talk to them, how they feel. They train a day or two there with our physios. We see tonight how they feel."
On Club Brugge:
"Top side, what we have seen the physicality, they know what to do, incredibly aggressive. Lots of quality upfront. We go there, four games left, 12 points to fight to qualify for the last 16. Tomorrow we try to win the next three. We have a plan, the mentality will be the same. Adjust them, the way we play let them adjust as much as possible. Control the game and try to get a result."
"Now is the main team in Belgium. The last decade, fifteen years creates this incredible amount of top players, the national team how good they are. Their physicality, the courage, the holding midfielders aggressive, the centre-backs. They play direct."
"After they have the quality in the final third to create chances and score goals., We knew it after the draw, wow a tough opponent. Winning in Leipzig isn't easy, a good result against PSG..."
Jack Grealish was discussed:
"We spoke about that [adapting to City], about what he has to live when he's not here with eating, resting, sleeping, living 24 hours for his profession. He has been excellent so far. Every game except Burnley last game at a good level. I'm sure he will improve. I have to find his best position, the games he played, he played well, If he's focussed in the game, on and off the pitch, he's strong."
"The quality in the final third, to attract many opponents, to find his mates, to score goals to win games. The quality in the final third. We add another one because we have many competitions, he's a perfect age."
"The clubs when you are on top of the competitions many years, the squad must be removed a little bit otherwise is more difficult. Everyone has to feel pressure from the new ones. We have to do it. All the big clubs move the players, everyone is a quality, running, defensively depends on it. The quality comes for themselves. This is what we want from Jack [Grealish] and all the players we sign."
Rodri then Kevin De Bruyne were touched on:
"The seasons are so long, 11 months, there are highs and lows. For a holding midfielder has to be steady, 7 or 8 out of ten [each game]. Now is so stable. He's learning, always pay attention, realised what we're looking for. We are more than satisfied. We knew it when we wanted him from Atletico. He's growing, hopefully he can be better, open his mind to understand what we have to do. He has a margin to be a batter player."
"He's getting better. We know the best Kevin, he had some injuries in the ankle in the face, he's getting better. Every game is better than before. The goals, the dynamic, the pace only has been given if you play regularly. Kevin needs to be fit to be the best. His potential is the movement, attacking space, how to do it. He's getting better and it's a good sign for us."
Cole Palmer made yet another appearance:
"He extended his contract because we believe him in a lot. Can play up front, winger, attacking midfield, striker. He is clinical. The guy is growing. He improves every day in training with us."
"He's already two seasons train with us, completely involved in the dynamic of how we play. He can play in five positions: up front, wingers, attacking midfielders, striker. He has a sense of goal, happy to have him and he's growing."
Pep confirmed he's had the Covid-19 vaccine:
"I have my own opinions, I trust the doctors and scientists. If they say it's the best way to protect the people, myself and my family have done it. Everyone is everyone. The doctors will talk with the players individually and they decide."
"If the doctors around the world say it's the best way to eradicate it. We see in England how many deaths there still are and people suffering. We have to move forward, use the masks, use the vaccines for better for society."
Kevin De Bruyne speaks regarding squad rotation:
"Rotation is important. Playing four competitions and mostly going far is a tough ask. I understand the frustration, I'm a player and you have some players who need more rhythm and maybe Raz [Sterling] needs more, I need that also. It's tough to play one game. It's the manager who has to make choices and it's hard. We have a group of 22, 23 internationals who are unbelievable. Whoever you pick will be right. Whenever the team plays good you can't say much as a player. We try to help each other."
Everything De Bruyne said on his nation and Club Brugge:
"Belgium is always a competition that goes through talented young talents. I played through the system, Brugge are bringing through young boys. Every time Belgium has success is through young players."
"It's important for Belgian teams to do well in Europe because they can sell players to other countries to put back into the system. I'm always rooting for Belgian teams."
"It's hard [for players to stay in Belgium]. If you play very well at a certain time and can go to a better league and earn more money everyone would do it. Belgium know it, they invest in young players and get better."
"I'm excited to go back home, the first time to play at home except the national team since I left."
"It's the first time since I left Genk to play in Belgium again. The supporters are always for us but I don't know how people will react tomorrow. I'll do my job and that's it. I think Brugge is a strong team, they play well, have a lot of talent."
"They've shown they can be champions more than once. They know what they need to do to win. They showed that talent vs Madrid and PSG. We're used to it with City wherever you play there will be quality, you don't end up there with luck."
Kevin gives a fitness update on himself:
"I feel much much better. There's still things that can go up. Even the last 2-3 months of last season I didn't train much. The last 6 months have been up and down not much training. I was in pain when I came back."
"It was good to take time off after the Spurs game. I feel much better, I feel stronger."
KDB reflect on last season's final and his talk with Khaldoon:
"I don't remember after the incident [in the final] so there's not a lot of memories. We always try to maintain a high level, we always want to compete for titles, we did well last season, two semis and a final. These games you can lose."
"The opposition are very good, that night we lost and move on. In the Euros I was happy I could come back but the ankle injury happened. There's nothing I can do, I got tackles and my ligament snapped. I try to get back as best as possible."
"It took some time, it was a bit painful but I feel much better now and I'm very happy about that."
"I remember some chances in the first half, after the collision I don't remember a lot, how I got into the hospital, I remember going back in the morning to the hotel at 10am still with my kit on. In sport it happens. It's not the best thing to happen but you go on with it."
"He [Khaldoon] said he was happy with how I contributed to the team & the year. He said we'd be back again to fight for the trophy. We weren't in a good mood, I felt strange at the time. It was nice to hear that from the chairman."
"It was night to hear that from the chairman because it was a big blow. It was a positive but short conversation."
On the Champions League expectations:
"People will always set the standard higher and higher. What we've done in England people expect us to win the Champions League and we want to. We always try to compete. In the last six years we've been in the last 16 or the quarter-final or better."
"We're always competing, we're trying to win it. Hopefully in my period here we can get one. It doesn't define you legacy, maybe for people outside. I'm happy with what we've done as a club for the last six years."
And on who should win the Balon d'Or:
"If I have to choose, I'm looking at the two year period, so I'd choose Lewandowski for what he has done the last two years goal scoring wise. He'd be my pick."
Written by: @coIgcra
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