Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola passed on some simple advice to his players from his late mentor Johan Cruyff ahead of the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, away at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night (April 28): Enjoy yourselves.
“Enjoy the travel, the coffee in the terminal, the night and the dinner, watching the other semi-final, enjoy the press conference, the walk, the training,” Guardiola told reporters on Tuesday while describing Cruyff’s philosophy.
“We are privileged to be one of the best four teams in Europe and we must enjoy it. Cruyff’s idea was like this.”
Cruyff, who created Barcelona’s “Dream Team” with players such as Guardiola, led them to their first European Cup in 1992.
City last reached a semi-final in 2016 under Manuel Pellegrini, when they were knocked out by Real Madrid. Guardiola is hoping to go one step further.
City take on a PSG side stacked with talent such as Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria leading the line and Marco Verratti in midfield, but Guardiola said he would not be changing their blueprint when playing Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
“The best balance is to have the ball. If you have the ball all the time the balance is there,” Guardiola said.
“They have a lot of weapons. They’re used to playing teams who defend 90 minutes, they find a way. That’s not the best way to defend against the team who have everything.
“The best way is to impose your game like we have for five years… We know the opponents. The way we enjoy to play is having the ball.”