29 May 2021

It could come down to penalties in all-English Champions League Final

29 May 2021

Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel believe any one of their players could boss a Champions League final shoot-out on Saturday night.

Guardiola’s Manchester City favourites will take on Tuchel’s resurgent Chelsea in Porto, with Europe’s top prize and English bragging rights on the line.

And after goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli fired Villarreal to a staggering 11-10 penalties victory over Manchester United in the Europa League final, Guardiola and Tuchel have admitted being prepared for any spot-kick eventuality.

Tuchel has his Chelsea penalty order nailed down, with his players having excelled from the spot in last-minute training.

Guardiola might have shrugged off City’s recent penalty travails ahead of the Estadio do Dragao encounter, but the Etihad Stadium boss still knows stopper Ederson could dispatch a deadly dead-ball if required.

“Listen, we can train for the penalties but you cannot replay the tension that happens in the real moments,” said Guardiola.

“Just in case we arrive to the penalty shoot-out I will talk to the players, I will know exactly what I am going to tell them to be sure they take a good penalty and try to do it.

“But I had a few things to think about the game more than the penalty shoot-out.”

City expect Ilkay Gundogan to shake off a minor thigh knock picked up in Friday training to be ready for the European showdown, while Edouard Mendy and N’Golo Kante should be fit for Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Blues boss Tuchel has revealed his men have been firing home every single penalty going in training.

“We always practise penalties when we face a match where it’s possible it could go to penalties,” said Tuchel.

“Can we simulate the pressure, the fatigue, the occasion, how it will feel tomorrow? No, we cannot.

“But still we believe we can take care about some patterns, and about a certain rhythm and certain habits during penalties. Which we did.

“And honestly, the penalty shoot-out was fantastic in terms of quality from the takers, I’ve never seen anything like this – 20 penalties in a row and no misses.

“And so, so strong, and so well taken.

“And we have identified the guys who should take the penalties for us, but I don’t know who in the end will be on the pitch.

“So we need to be well aware, but we are prepared and if we go to penalties we go in there together.

“And if we go out of penalties we’ll do that together no matter what happens.”

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