Guardiola warns Man City against Champions League final arrogance
Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola gestures on the touchline during the English League Cup third round football match between Manchester City and Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west of England, on September 24, 2020. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP)
Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City’s stars that their confidence ahead of the Champions League final against Inter Milan cannot slip into arrogance as they aim to complete a historic treble.
Guardiola’s men are one game away from becoming just the second side to win the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in the same season.
City are huge favourites for the clash in Istanbul on Saturday, having thrashed Bayern Munich and Real Madrid on route to the final.
By contrast, Inter finished a distant third in Serie A and enjoyed a less demanding passage to the final as they beat Porto, Benfica and AC Milan.
However, the Italians boast the richer European Cup heritage, with three triumphs to City’s none, and Guardiola has urged his team not to become complacent.
“Of course we are confident, so optimistic, but at the same time I cannot deny the difficulties and qualities of the opponents,” said Guardiola at City’s pre-match media day on Tuesday.
“I have never done it and especially in the final of the Champions League.”
City remain on course to match the treble achievement of Manchester United’s class of 1998/99 by beating the Red Devils 2-1 in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
Guardiola said that was far better preparation for the Champions League final than their only previous appearance in the European showpiece two years when his side lost 1-0 against Chelsea in Porto.
But he insisted City’s stunning form in the past four months will count for nothing when it comes to getting the job done at the Ataturk Stadium.
City’s only defeat in their last 27 games came at Brentford on the final day of the Premier League season after the title had long since been won.
“We know a final is about how you behave for 95 minutes. It’s not about history, for history they are better than us,” Guardiola said.
“It doesn’t matter what you do in group stage, last 16, quarter-finals, Premier League or FA Cup. It’s one single game you have to be better than the opponent.”
Kyle Walker is City’s only injury worry as the England right-back sat out training on Tuesday with a back injury.
But he is expected to recover in time to be available for the final.
“He has had a little bit of a disturbance in his back,” Guardiola said.
“Yesterday he was not good, today he was a little bit better but we didn’t want to take any risks. We will see in the next days.”