"We need to show passion, charisma, and love" - Pep Guardiola pre Fulham Press Conference
Pep Guardiola was very talkative after City's huge win against Arsenal on Wednesday night, in previewing the away trip to Craven Cottage to face Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday. The Catalan talked about the potential to go back to the top of the Premier League, Nathan Ake's injury progression, the need to bass the ball quicker, the leaders, and motivational speaking.
"They're exceptional. Mitrovic is suspended, who's been incredible for them. You have to be aggressive and attack [as much] as possible [against them]."
Pass and move, faster:
"We didn't pass the ball before. Against Bayern Munich [away] we didn't pass enough the ball, and the game at the Emirates, we didn't pass the ball. Our strong points is attacking quick, but before attacking quick you have to pass more the ball - use the keeper more, turn more. Before the last games we just started right and finish right, start with left and finish with left. To attack better when a team is high pressing like what happened against Bayern Munich and Arsenal, you have to move them a little bit more, otherwise it's more difficult to find the right spaces and after this process to be quick and be faster."
Nathan Ake update:
"He's much better, he seems now really good. His symptomatology - feels good, that is important because in the end the player knows his body and his reaction, but still he's not training with the team. It will not be longer. Maybe tomorrow the doctor will come and say he's ready to train, but I think he's not [ready yet]."
Kevin De Bruyne's improvement:
"He's the same player from a month ago if he plays or doesn't. You cannot demand every single player of ten years with a game every three days to be all the time on the up. Sometimes you have to see it and say okay let him refresh his mind - his standards are so high."
The title race:
"It is not over, It will be over when it is over. We still have seven games. We have to do our game. I know what happened when we win at the Emirates, then we draw at Nottingham Forest. Now we go to Fulham against an incredible team. We're taking nothing for granted. We're happy for the last game and the performance but that is all."
"I know it's not 20 games left, it's seven, but seven games are seven games. Especially considering we have Champions League games and so on. Don't misunderstand me, even if we were in the same position ten points behind - I trust my players. The players are the same, you have to seduce them every single day to make sure it works. Losing is part of the competition. We are there to to try and [win the title]. The feeling is good but we have to prove it again."
Planning for Madrid yet?
"No. I have an idea more or less but specifically, if they changed from last season, with Carlo. Normally I'm concerned with the next game. We don't have time to prioritize anything. To be champion again is the similar level as Champions League. The Premier League is so attractive, so nice. It's every week against everyone. My attention is Fulham, then West Ham, then Leeds. Then after we prepare for Madrid."
After Fernandinho, leaders stepped up?
"Yeah of course: Gundo, Kyle, Scott Carson, Rodri, Ruben. Normally [we talk] about the game itself. Sometimes some specific actions [are talked about] but always for the benefit to get better. What I don't like is when a club is flat. Good or bad, no matter, that is the worst. After winning in the past, the club has to be a charismatic team, show passion, love. This is the key point."
Got to keep winning:
"We have some margin, but not much. We have seven games but they [Arsenal] have five. It is really close. The performance against Nottingham Forest [after winning at the Emirates] was one of the best this season. Travelling up from London, the late night, only two days [between]. The team played incredible, but we dropped points."
Champagne ready for Champions League qualification?
"Yes. Ask Arsenal [what it means] - after an seven year absence. It is a success, absolutely."
"I don't give motivational speeches, I didn't ready a book [on motivational speaking]. It's what I feel about the game we're going to play. Sometimes the boys are more calm or aggressive, sometimes you have to lift them. Against Arsenal, I didn't say one word. Playing for the Premier League? They know perfectly. I asked how they warmed up, they said they warmed up so calm' Players in that situation they're relaxed they know exactly what they have to do. Same with Madrid, they know what they're playing for in the semi-finals of the Champions League."
Arsenal won't give in:
"I know perfectly Mikel, I know, the players know - they will not give up. If we were ten points ahead then I'd say it's over. But we are two points behind. We have to beat West Ham and Fulham. The reality, we are behind, if today the season finished: they'd be champions. It's possible you can lose points and draw games in one week. We have to be aware of that."
Written by: @colgeogcra
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