"I had the feeling we were close to winning the Champions League..." - Ruben Dias and Pep Guardiola Press Conference Highlights (vs FC Porto)

harryasiddall

The Champions League is back! It only feels like yesterday we were left devastated after a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Lyon in last seasons competition. There's a sense that this campaign may be make or break for the Blues with Pep Guardiola at the helm as they get their group stage underway with the visit of FC Porto on Wednesday night. 

Here's everything Pep Guardiola and Ruben Dias had to say when they faced the media before this one...

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Playing for City 'a dream'

As usual, Ruben Dias was questioned first. With his Portuguese background, there's no surprise he'll have some sort of knowledge on how Porto play. Manchester City's newest signing was firstly asked about his excitement on his new venture at the Etihad Stadium and if the club can go all the way this year. 

"Obviously City is in a big group of top teams that can win and some are close, some are a little bit far away. Every year it starts from zero. It is a new year, new players in the team and we will try to keep getting better."

"I’m really happy to be here, to have the opportunity to play in the Champions League for a team like Manchester City. It was one of the reasons I came - the club, the way they play and the way they play to win, especially this competition. I’m really happy. I’m looking forward to it."

"I probably know Porto best and hopefully it will be good intel on how we approach the game. I’ve had pressure throughout my career, it’s part of football and I like it, it’s all good!"

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(Photo by Martin Rickett - Pool/Getty Images)

Learning from Guardiola

One of the major pulling factors the club has at the moment is Pep Guardiola. So Ruben Dias asked what he'd already learnt from the Catalan coach after just a few weeks in Manchester:

"I’ve not been here long but every day is a new opportunity. Every game, especially. We haven’t had much time to train, it is more: play, train, rest. You can start feeling the influence of the manager, influence of the players. It’s been good."

"My mentality is to be as complete as I can in every way. I’ve been doing my best. I will keep doing it. Obviously it's a big part to have good people surrounding you and to learn the right way. I’m just happy to be here and keep improving."

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(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Ruben the leader

In only his short time at Manchester City, Ruben Dias has been compared by sections of the fanbase to former captain Vincent Kompany. The 23-year-old was asked about his leadership qualities:

"The team received me very well. I’ve always considered that in a team every single player needs to be a leader of himself. There is always a leader of the team and the group but first of all you need to lead yourself."

"I've worked my entire life based on being a leader of myself, disciplined with myself and work to where I want to be. Everything else comes naturally with my personality. I will just keep doing things the way I am and keep working the way I have always been working and the rest will come naturally. I work day to day very hard, as I’ve always done. Everything will happen naturally." 

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(Photo by Jason Cairnduff - Pool/Getty Images)

Porto and dealing with pressure

From his time at Benfica, Dias will have extensive knowledge on how tomorrow's opponents may set up. When asked about this, the centre-back appreciates the quality they have and the great pressure that comes with that:

"Every game is different and every opponent has his best qualities and spaces for us to find and cover defensively. It is about knowing who you’re going to play and obviously to follow the best way and the idea of the manager."

"We keep improving day by day and time will be the most important thing to work, to play, to be with the team and the coach. That will make the difference. It’s just another game, just another opponent and the focus is to win and to be the best - nothing more than that."

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(Photo by Paul Ellis - Pool/Getty Images)

Guardiola 'impressed' with Arsenal result

Now over to Pep. After an important 1-0 win against Arsenal at the weekend - particularly without Aymeric Laporte or Kevin De Bruyne at his disposal, he was asked what boost it had given his side. 

"I was really impressed with how strong they are [vs Arsenal]. Since the beginning of the season the mood is really good. The relation between themselves is spectacular, so it is the most important thing. It is just one game and now the next."

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(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Champions League glory 

Of course, Pep Guardiola was quizzed on what most probably is his ultimate aim with the club - to deliver Champions League glory. Here's what he had to say:

"It is just the first Champions League game. We are still far away from thinking about our big targets. Considering what happened previously, we're not allowed to dream much higher in expectations. We need to win tomorrow, home games are so important."

"After we will see how the team grows. We are still a little bit away from where we want to be but Zinchenko is back and many players are back in good condition - Gundogan, Bernardo and Joao."

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De Bruyne, Laporte and Jesus back 'soon'

The weekly injury update is here. Pep Guardiola has said three of Manchester City's notable absentee's - Aymeric Laporte, Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus - will be back 'in the next few weeks'.

"It was an honour to play extra games [at the end of last season]. Unfortunately we could not play more. It is what it is. The problem was more the impact that we didn’t have preparations and four or five guys tested positive for Covid."

"We had a few injuries so our preparations were delayed. We had fewer weeks - in this period it is so important, in one month it would be less. It is important the players come back fit and training with the right mood."

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(BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Guardiola calls for consistency 

Pep Guardiola has called for consistency in his sides performances as they look to build on momentum from Saturday's win against Arsenal. With a tough schedule upcoming, he'll need everyone to be on top form.

"We have to play six [Champions League group] games. Every game is important. When we play the first game away it is not much more important as the first game at home. It is important to get the three points tomorrow."

"To know the opponent and try to continue with the many good things we did in the Arsenal game and some moments from Leeds and be more consistent." 

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(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Pep takes responsibility for Lyon defeat

Last season's exit at the hands of Lyon created massive discussion over the root of the problem. However, Pep Guardiola took responsibility on Tuesday afternoon for some of his tactical choices in that game:

"It was a tough moment. I felt so responsible for this, how the club fought and the players and still now I feel so responsible. We have to accept the reality that we were not good enough."

"We played good moments and had our chances but made mistakes that you cannot do in this competition. Expectations of every club and manager has to dream with high expectations. The reality we didn’t perform at the level needed to get through."

"We have to accept with humility. The best way to improve, and accept the new challenge this season to try again knowing that we have to improve. The Champions League is so demanding. I feel so bad for the players but this is a new chance."

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City 'close' to winning the Champions League

Despite the way the club went out of last years competition, Pep Guardiola feels his side is close to going all the way:

"I had the feeling that we were close [to winning the #UCL]. But at the same time we did some mistakes that make you feel we don’t deserve to go through. I don’t think it is mental - the situations are about desire."

"Now is a new opportunity and I believe more in the wish and desire that we had. In this competition you have do to things a little diffferently to how we have done but when you review [previous Champions League] games, I always felt we were not far away. None of them were that better than us but we have to solve the little gaps and when you don’t solve it it is because you don’t deserve it. It is the best way to improve."

However, Pep Guardiola does go on to say he's ready to do it all over again - starting tomorrow:

"I’m so responsible, I don’t blame one player. They are mature enough to know what they have to do to go through. We have to be better in some departments but the players know it five minutes after playing the game."

"We are not going to qualify for the final tomorrow. It is the first step of many to get as far as possible in this competition and we want to do really well in the Premier League to get here again next season."

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Pep on Porto

Tomorrow's fixture pitches the Blues up against the top seed in this years group. Pep Guardiola unsurprisingly respects the quality they bring, given the historical side they are:

 "They [City] have to run. I expected that Porto would run. Porto are one of the strongest teams in Portugal, their mentality is to win every single weekend. Their physicality is strong, they have experienced guys like Pepe."

"The spirit and culture they have with their manager; it'll be tough. Every time I've played Porto, I know how difficult it will be but it will be a good challenge. We have two days to know them, we have one more day. We will see what happens."

"The spirit and culture they have with their manager; it'll be tough. Every time I've played Porto, I know how difficult it will be but it will be a good challenge. We have two days to know them, we have one more day. We will see what happens." 

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(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Portuguese football 'exceptional'

Since winning the European Championships in 2016, Portuguese football has gone from strength to strength. Manchester City themselves have acquired plenty of talent developed in Portugal, and Pep himself saw the same when he was growing up.

"It is exceptional. I saw in the Confederations Cup the amount of quality they have and on the bench. I’m lucky that I was made with Portuguese players like Baia, Figo and Couto and all of them were incredibly talented players."

"I have incredible memories of my relations with them and it is quite similar. I am Catalan and from the Portuguese our weather, style of life, food looks similar. The national team has an incredible team, they are one of the favourites."

"Bernardo [Silva] is one of the best football players all the time, good full-backs, keepers, quality in the middle and up front. A good squad and generation - Portuguese people have to be so proud!"

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(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

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You can follow the author on Twitter here: @HarryASiddall

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