Pep Guardiola: Man City will need to suffer to achieve Champions League glory

Pep Guardiola accepts Manchester City will have to suffer to win the Champions League final
Pep Guardiola accepts Manchester City will have to suffer to win the Champions League final (PA Archive)
18:12pm, Fri 28 May 2021
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Pep Guardiola accepts Manchester City will need “to suffer” in order to beat Chelsea in the Champions League final.

Guardiola appears to have a fully-fit squad to choose from for Saturday’s showpiece in Porto despite an injury scare involving midfielder Ilkay Gundogan on the eve of the match.

The German hurt his thigh in a collision with captain Fernandinho in City’s training session at the Estadio do Dragao but it is understood the club did not think the problem was anything too serious.

City have been the dominant force in the Premier League this season but Guardiola, who twice guided Barcelona to European success, is well aware they may not have things their own way in the final.

Ilkay Gundogan (centre) gave City an injury scare ahead of the final but the problem is not thought to be serious (PA Wire)

The Spaniard said: “Everyone wants to win but to win you have to play. Sometimes you want to play one way but the opponent in the final dictates another way and you have to adapt to circumstances.

“Some players go out and have more pressure, more tension. Better players can struggle but you have to handle this.

“I’m sure we will have to suffer to win the final. It’d be nice to go out and enjoy but sometimes it is not possible.

“Most times in finals you have to suffer. You have to be resilient and adjust to the bad moments in the game.”

City have come through tough ties in the last two rounds against Borussia Dortmund and Paris St Germain to reach the final for the first time.

Guardiola oversaw City's final training session in the Estadio do Dragao (PA Wire)

Guardiola said: “In both games against Dortmund and PSG we suffered but we stuck together.

“Here we’ll not have 90 minutes when one side completely dominates. In the moments we suffer we’ll stick together and the moments we are going to have momentum try to use it.”

Guardiola admits it is “terrible”, and one of the hardest parts of his job, to tell certain players they will not be in the starting line-up.

“It’s (an) absolutely disaster,” he said at his pre-match press conference. “I advise you don’t be a manager in your life.

“I don’t have any nice words to (give) relief to (those) guys but my advice is stay with the team as there are five or six substitutions and everybody will have a part.

“I feel incredibly sorry for those that don’t play because they all deserve it but it is what it is. I have to be honest. The selection I do is to win the game, no alternative.”

Guardiola twice won the Champions League with Barcelona (PA Archive)

There have been reports in the Catalan press that Barcelona are preparing to launch a charm offensive to lure Guardiola back to the Nou Camp.

Yet Guardiola only signed a new contract at City committing him until 2023 last November and he seems happy to remain where he is.

“The club gives the manager everything he needs,” said Guardiola when asked why has lasted longer at City than in any of his previous managerial roles.

“When we lose, they don’t tell me that I’m responsible. We look to find a solution.

“I know as a manager that if we don’t win, they are going to fire me, but this is the way we work here and this is why I extended the contract. I feel incredibly comfortable.”

Kevin De Bruyne believes City have learned from the past (PA Wire)

One player Guardiola seems almost certain to select in his side is key playmaker Kevin De Bruyne.

The Belgian, who described City’s disappointing quarter-final exit to Lyon last year as “different year, same stuff”, believes the club have finally learned from their past mistakes after years of frustration in the competition.

He said: “The identity of the team is the same but I think in the difficult moments we didn’t make too many mistakes.

“In the other years, in these types of games, we made one mistake too many and the other teams reacted to it by going ahead and we couldn’t get back.

“In games this year we didn’t concede the goals that we have done in previous years.”

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