Neither Manchester City’s past failures in Europe nor their domestic success will have any bearing on Saturday’s Champions League final, manager Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday as he urged his players to focus on their own performances.
Guardiola has won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups at City but European success has eluded the manager who won the trophy twice as Barcelona head coach.
City have never won Europe’s elite club competition and lost the final to Chelsea in 2021, but will be favourites to beat Inter Milan this week and complete their bid for a historic treble – having already won the Premier League and FA Cup.
“It is a dream to be here, two years ago we were there but in a different situation,” the Spanish coach told reporters ahead of the final in Istanbul.
“We are going to try to do our best as we know the final depends on how you behave over the specific 90 minutes. It is not about history – if they are better than us.
“It is about what you have to do in 90 minutes to be better than the opponent. It doesn’t count what you have done in the group stage, quarter-finals, last season, Premier League or FA Cup. It is one single game.”
The City boss heaped praise on opponents Inter’s organisation and defence, with the Italian side having conceded just three goals over the course of six matches in this year’s Champions League knockout stage.
“What we are trying to do in the next few days is try to understand how to play with a lot of difficulties as it is not easy to attack the defensive system Inter use,” Guardiola said.
“So we will have to bring a lot of rhythm and be patient – we are not going to do it with three or four passes. We have to know the right tempo.
“They have a good shape not just in how they defend but how good they are with the ball in the transition when they lead with the strikers. They have a really good process which starts with goalkeeper Andre Onana… so it makes our high pressing difficult.”
Guardiola added that Kyle Walker, who limped off the pitch in the 95th minute of City’s 2-1 win over arch-rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final, is dealing with a back issue.
“Yesterday he was not good, today a bit better. We do not want to take risks so we will see,” Guardiola said.