"He's still in Barcelona" - Aymeric Laporte & Pep Guardiola Press Conference Highlights (vs Lyon)
With the prospect of playing either Barcelona or Bayern Munich in the semi-finals, Manchester City are set to face Lyon in the club's first game of the mini-tournament in Lisbon. Last season, the Blues only managed to take one point from tomorrows opposition in the group stages.
Pep Guardiola was joined by Aymeric Laporte as they faced the media before this one...
Guardiola previews Lyon
One of Pep Guardiola's former sides await us in the semi-finals; but first, the Catalan is focused on the matter at hand - Lyon.
"Anything can happen. It’s a different competition. It’s a final at every stage. We are ready to do our best performance to go through.
The pressure is always there, we try to do our best like the other teams. We saw how tight it was in the last two games, tomorrow will be no exception. It’s a final so it’s one game. We’ll try to avoid mistakes so they can’t punish us."
Sergio Agüero latest
Unsurprisingly, Pep Guardiola was asked for an injury update on Sergio Agüero, who has missed the past two months with a knee operation. Unfortunately, the Argentine is still in Barcelona recovering:
"He's still in Barcelona. He should come here, do a test. He's still in Barcelona making a full recovery."
Aymeric Laporte joined Guardiola for this one, and he was first asked about the importance of remaining focused in games of this magnitude:
"We want to be focused on the competition. We want to beat them [Lyon] tomorrow and go fast. We are prepared, we are great teammates and hopefully we can win this competition. Tomorrow we have to fight. This is the way we have to compete.
"We have to be focused. We know they [Lyon] have very good players, we have to focus on the game, don't concede mistakes and try to score more goals than them. That's all I can say now."
The Frenchman is also hopeful of winning the entire competition as the final edges closer and closer:
"Hopefully we can do it [win the #UCL] ourselves. We are prepared, we will fight to the end. Hopefully this competition is for us this year but there are many tough teams. We have to be ready for the fight."
The evolution of Manchester City
I think it's fair to say under Pep Guardiola, Manchester City have changed a lot. A different style of play, a different mentality; but Guardiola highlighted something completely different when asked for his view on how his side have progressed:
"Every year it's growing. Not just results but everyone, every year the organisation is growing. The club is working day by day to get results, another part is working to be sustainable and solid in the future.
Results help to increase. The elite clubs will always be there. Barca, Real Madrid, Bayern - in knockout games, everything can happen. It's difficult to beat big teams away from home, but in one game anything can happen."
Favourites for glory?
Atletico Madrid, Atalanta and either Barcelona or Bayern Munich will all be out of the competition before Manchester City even kick a ball on Saturday evening. The bookmakers have Pep Guardiola's side as the favourites once again, but what does the boss think?
"Of course, it was important to beat the kings of this competition [Real Madrid]. But when you play just one game in this competition, anything can happen."
Aymeric Laporte agrees:
"Of course, it will be massive for the club and we are going for it."
With one of the major changes turning the ties to one-legged matches, Guardiola was asked if this would affect his tactics going into the game:
"It's quite different. When you play first leg you have one eye on second leg. When we play FA Cup or Carabao we are used to it. There are no second chances, you are either in or out. The approach is very different."
Guardiola on City's maturity and being 'ready'
One thing that's hampered Manchester City in recent years is their ability to stay mentally strong in the toughest moments. But Pep Guardiola says he's seen a shift in recent years:
"Always it is difficult to see the maturity because against Madrid we are mature, when we lose to Tottenham by one inch we were not mature. I don't see my players that way.
I expect in 90 minutes we will suffer. Just to be strong in our minds, knowing the game will be over when it's over, not before. These games, the mental, the heads, the spirits lead the other things. The team are ready to do it."
And on if Manchester City are ready to go all the way:
"I would like to tell you what happened tomorrow but all I can say is we are prepared. I am proud of how they have been these two or three weeks. Since lockdown they have been incredibly focussed.
We accept the deal for the club for the people to go to the semi-final. It's adapting every day for the new protocols and we did it and now we are here."
Follow us on Twitter for live match coverage: @City_Xtra