• JackCR

"The best team will win!" - Pep Guardiola pre-Chelsea Press Conference

Ahead of the Champions League final, Guardiola, Kevin De Bruyne, and Fernandinho spoke to the media. All quotes are as quoted by Manchester Evening News.

How big a challenge is it to avoid players dropping off in form?

"I don't know what happened with Spurs and Liverpool two years ago, we will try to do our best game as possible. To do what we have been this time together for many years. When you reach the final we finished a process we started five years ago. I think it will be a good game and the best team will win."

Are you prepared for penalties?

"We can train the penalties but you can not apply the tension when it happens for real. Just in case it arrives at a shootout I will talk to the players and I know what I will tell them. I've had weeks to think about the game not the shoot-out."

It's been a decade since Guardiola's last UCL final.

"Yeah of course I remember. This type of games, the performance and especially the way against Manchester United one of the greatest teams ever with Sir Alex, especially the way we play, I have good memories of that. But 10 years already it's a long time ago, but it's nice to remember. In that final we expressed really well what we worked in that period in Barcelona."

What will you tell the players?

"I know exactly the way we want to play, with who we're going to play and I'm not going to bother them much. It's an incredible experience to be here, I never expect when I start my career to play one final. We're so lucky. I know exactly what I'm going to tell them. The guys who are anxious and nervous, I will tell them it's normal."

Is the final about winning or the style?

"Everyone wants to win but to win you have to play. You want to play oneway but sometimes you have to adapt difficult circumstances. Some players go out there with tension, some struggle, but they have to handle this. I'm pretty sure we have to suffer to win the final. It's nice to say enjoy it but sometimes it's not possible. You have to be resilient and adjust. We will try to be ourselves and do what we can."

Why have you chosen to stay at City longer than other clubs?

"He gives to the manager everything that he needs. Of course investment, I can't deny, but not just that. I have friends in the hierarchy above me and the players see me as the manager because I have support from those above me. I feel comfortable with my staff, I have everything. I can not ask more to do my job as best as I can do. It's as simple as that. We are in the same line, we make decisions together, share mistakes together and good moments. When I lose they don't tell me I'm responsible, we try and find a solution together. Knowing as a manager they're going to fire me, but they're going to fire me in a good friendship. That's why I extended my contract, for that reason. I feel incredibly comfortable with every department of the club, not just the players. After the results they will decide if I stay longer but we will stay friends and shake hands."

Do the ties v PSG and Dortmund benefit you and give you experience?

Yeah absolutely, but it's a final and it doesn't mean it's going to happen tomorrow. We suffered in the first-half against PSG and Dortmund. But we stuck together. Tomorrow we will not have 90 minutes one side dominate, we are going to suffer but when we get momentum we will have to use it. I'm the happiest man in the world to be here. It is a privilege. We will try our best and a good advertisement for football."

How are the Portuguese players feeling?

"I don't know how they will feel tomorrow but they are so incredibly positive. In my career I have been teammates or managed several Portuguese players and they are always comfortable. I think they have a special mentality. They are such great competitors. I love this country. I'm really comfortable with the Portuguese people and especially this season with Ruben, Bernardo and Joao and tomorrow I'm sure they will be ready."

How difficult is it to drop players?

"Terrible. It's absolutely disaster. I advise you don't be a manager in your life. I don't have any nice words to feel relief about the guys who won't play. But my advice is to stick with the team, there are five or six substations and everybody has a chance. Everyone will be a part. I feel incredibly sorry for them but it is what it is. The selection I will do is to win the game."

Now for De Bruyne.


Does fear of losing drive winning?

"I guess I understand where he [Rooney] is coming from. We're all competitors and we all want to win. We players understand the magnitude, if we win we're heroes if we lose almost failures. To get to this stage is incredibly well done for the team and individual, to lose is something you don't want to experience but it happens."

Is Pep more relaxed?

"I guess the whole season we have done less technical training, less meetings, I think it comes when we had so many games and it became too much. He gave us a little more breathing space and then maybe he saw it was working and the team were responding well and I guess that's why he's a bit more relaxed."

What does it mean to be a CL final?

"It's been one of the goals of the club and one of the goals of the players to be able to be there in the game tomorrow and play on the highest stage is a privilege. It think everyone understands the pressure but at least we can enjoy this game. We should take it with a smile and take it that you want to perform and show your best."

What has been different this year?

"We made less mistakes. The identity of the team is the same but I think in the difficult moments we didn't make too many mistakes and in the other years in these types of game we made one mistake too many and the other teams reacted to it by going ahead and we couldn't get back. In games this year we didn't concede the goals that we have done in previous years."

Does the result of the final define whether you're the best player in the world?

"It's going to decide that but we as players don't have any influence in this. Sometimes you can have a brilliant game and be on the losing side but to be in for these individual awards you need to win things. I'm happy with who I am as a player so I am comfortable whichever way it goes."

What team would City be with Portuguese players?

"They're important like every other player. They have been brilliant since the moment they came here. I have won many things with Bernardo, he has been brilliant, and the same can be said about Joao and Ruben. They are helping us achieve our level and pushing other players to be better."

Now for Captain Fernandinho.


Does it surprise you how important Foden has become?

"Me personally it's no surprise at all. Foden has been training with us four five years already and he's grown up so much. The quality he has his hard to find and the desire he has is incredible. He grew up so much in this competition this season, when we start the season no one knows what will happen but he has kept his feet on the ground and I think that's one of the reasons he's at the level he is now. He's a very important player and I hope it keeps going in the future."

How would you describe Portuguese players?

"They are all competitors. They don't like to lose and they really like to play good football and fight hard for the team. Of course, each one has their own way to fight and to show how competitive they are and I think this is important. All of them have different skills and this helps the team."

How has Foden changed over the years?

"He's turning 21 now and I think he changed his understanding of the game especially to play for City. How this team works, how this team plays, you have to understand your teammates, when to pass the ball. This kind of understanding he learned so much in the last two years and that's another reason why he is so important."

Do you take confidence from the league position?

"It's a different competition, the Premier League is gone we celebrate and tomorrow is going to be a difficult game and I hope we are prepared and play well to get the result."

What will you tell the players who aren't involved?

"My role is to tell them to be ready when they are needed. Everyone who was part of the process and now in the final it won't be different. Be ready because you are important and you never know when you will be needed."

You could become the first Brazilian captain to lift the trophy.

"To win the CL is a big accomplishment and as a Brazilian to have an opportunity to win the trophy is a proud moment. I hope we can do well during the game, play good, and enjoy the moment. But it's going to be one of the proudest moments of my life."

What gives the most pressure?

"I think this season in the CL in knockout games we showed how capable we are. Dortmund away concede first, PSG away concede first, to turn it around playing the same way was one of the keys for this team. The world is going to watch this game it's important not to feel the pressure, try to be as relaxed as we can and focus on the game. Try to do the same thing we have done this season. Don't change nothing. Play simple. I think that's the best way to prepare and to win. My message is not change anything and be as relaxed as much as you can."