Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has opened up on his tactical mindset going into Wednesday night's crucial first-leg tie against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League semi-final.
The Manchester City boss was honest in his analysis of what it would take for his side to beat Mauricio Pochettino’s red-hot Paris side in the last four of Europe's premier competition.
The Catalan boss exclaimed, “If you have the ball all the time the balance is there. We will concede counter attacks, it's impossible. If you defend so deep, Neymar, Mbappe Di Maria, Verratti, Marquinhos, they have a lot of weapons."
"They are used to play teams who defend 90 minutes and they find a way. That is not the best way to defend against the team who have everything,” said Pep Guardiola in Tuesday’s press conference, as relayed by MEN’s Joe Bray.
He continued, “The best way is to impose your game like we have for five years. Of course Lyon beat us on the counter attack but we tried to impose our game. I learned in this competition as close you are the chances you have to get through.”
The Manchester City boss was quick to point out that in the latter stages of European competitions, you will not find an opponent without world class abilities.
“At this stage you don't find opponents without skills. Dortmund with Haaland and Reus, everyone has skills. We know the opponents."
"The way we enjoy to play is have the ball, when you have the ball and use in the right moments the team is balanced. Not defending more or deeper, that's not true, it's the way you play with the ball and create stability in the team,” he said.
Pep Guardiola also paid homage to his idol, and all round football icon Johann Cruyff, citing him as his inspiration in how he addresses his players ahead of pressure-packed occasions such as the game that looms over his squad this week.
He said, “I learned from Johann Cruyff, you have to enjoy the game, enjoy the responsibility. Top players enjoy situations because they enjoy responsibility, that's why the greatest players win this competition because they play it like a friendly game. The mythical sentence one before the final in 1992 in Wembley was to go out and enjoy but I will not tell the players that, I'm no Cruyff.”
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“That's why Cruyff had this idea. Once we arrive in the final, it's not to be worried or concerned incase we lose. If we lose, we try again next season. Once you arrive in these stages you're nervous because you think of the consequences, not the pleasure of trying to beat them. This is the mindset of the greatest players in all the sports. We did it already, we try to do it the next one.”
You can find more press conference notes on mcfcxtra.com
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