"That's why I'm happier than ever..." – Pep Guardiola pre Liverpool Press Conference
Pep Guardiola spoke to the media ahead of his side's visit to Anfield this Sunday and provided an Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko fitness update, discussed Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp, and Raheem Sterling's confidence and positioning:
Pep on the week's intensity having already played Chelsea and PSG:
"Unbelievably, the level has been so great these games. Despite the result in France, the performance was excellent. We have nine months ahead of us."
Pep on whether Liverpool are title contenders:
"And United no? Liverpool since I arrived here, the first year maybe not, after the year we won 100 points Liverpool always was there. Last season they had many problems in the same position. Otherwise would have been different, and we were excellent again. The last four years all the time we were both there. It's the biggest compliment both clubs were there. Premier League, there are not just one, two, there are many teams who can fight for the league."
Pep on Jurgen Klopp:
"He helped me, his teams helped me to be a better manager. Give me another level to think about it, prove myself, what I have to do to be a better manager with our teams to try and beat them. It's the reason why I'm still in this business. There are some managers, Jurgen is one, to challenge you to move a step forward. In Germany when we face each other, I couldn't face him in Barcelona. Here we have many years, many competitions together. Every game was nice, both teams have the same idea, go to score goals in different ways. Quicker than us, but in the same way to win the games."
Pep on the title race:
"I start to see the table after ten, 12 fixtures. Now one point ahead, one point down is not important. This type of games to win is when you arrive in the late stages. Important is the way you play, the spirit in the team. We reach a high level in the last games. This will help you in the last stages in the last month, the way you play, not the result. It's important to win in Anfield, but it's difficult. Last season was the first time in many years. This is the challenge. How nice it is, in Stamford Bridge and in France to live these things."
Pep on staying close to the league leaders:
"I never thought about this. When you have eight fixtures four points behind, so many points ahead of us to be played. Ten games is so important to not go far away from the leader. The year we won the second league in a row back to back, we were seven points behind Liverpool in January and we won the league. Tomorrow I'm not going to make a step back the way we're thinking, just improve what we have to do. We can be better in some departments. In general, the team I am happier than ever the way we behave and play. We played in Chelsea as a great team, a real team. This is what I like. We are trying, this is my job."
Pep on having many different goalscorers:
"We do it in that way or we are not able to do it. Attack the space and the goal much more with more people. We don't have a striker like has this smell when the ball is around the box and is always there. We have to do it through the game, many people involved, to score goals. Always has been like this, the team has created chances. We created a lot vs PSG. Chelsea, we created enough to score a goal."
Pep on Raheem Sterling's confidence:
"Raheem played really good as a striker at PSG, created incredible chances. One and another one with the movement. We need. Speed, zero to 100 he did it exceptionally."
Pep on Anfield with fans:
"Thank you to pull out the credit from last season! I am pleased Anfield is full again, it's nice they come back and we can enjoy a fantastic atmosphere and hopefully, we can handle it in a good way. I am sure the players enjoy more playing with fans in Anfield than without. We didn't win at Anfield I don't know the reasons, the last 4, 5 years because it's an exceptional team. The crowd helps, like in Paris, but it happens in big stadiums. In Germany at Dortmund or Atletico Madrid. It happens, not a lot for intimidation but the quality of the opponent. We do our game with or without spectators."
Pep on the team news:
"Everyone is fit except Zinchenko and Gundogan. We expect both after the international break, hopefully."
Pep on Sterling's position:
"He can play there [on the right] but at the start of the season, Gabriel played there really well. In that game, we need players who can attract PSG players in other areas. We need a guy who can run right and left, Sterling is the best we have in our squad. It depends on the opponent, sometimes we need a specific player. Raheem played really well there with 100 points. I thought he was able to do a good performance and that's what he has done."
Pep on Madrid and Barcelona losing:
"I am not surprised. I am there playing Champions League every season and I know how hard this competition is. Every game can be dangerous, even for the higher teams. It can happen. Normally some teams win because it’s easier, you underestimate the effort.
Pep on being happier than ever:
"The way we played the last two games makes me so satisfied with what we have done. Obviously, when we won the league I'm happy but in this period when we've played injured and Foden and De Bruyne trained for just two weeks, the level and consistency is so good.
"That's why I'm happier than ever. But it’s not about comparing to the past. We have to try and do it again. I know where the team comes from. Last season it's hard to do better but we have seen details that say we're still there after six years together. It makes me proud."
Pep on recent meetings with Liverpool:
"For us, it's an honour to have Liverpool as rivals. But in many years we try to compete against this legendary club, for us, it is an honour to be their rivals because it means we are there competing against one of the most historic teams in England."
Written by: @NA1907_
All quotes as quoted by Manchester Evening News and Manchester City.
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