Man City won't freeze in Champions League final, says Guardiola

Manchester City won’t get stage fright in the Champions League final, insists Pep Guardiola, as the Spaniard hopes his players only need ‘one shot’ to lift the trophy as they prepare for their first ever European showpiece

  • Manchester City will play their first Champions League final against Chelsea  
  • Pep Guardiola has dismissed fears about his side’s inexperience for the game  
  • The Spaniard believes not all clubs need time before winning major honours 

Pep Guardiola hopes inexperience will not stand in the way of Manchester City winning the Champions League final at the first attempt this weekend.

City are preparing to face Chelsea in Porto on Saturday and Guardiola — who won the competition as a player and twice as a manager — was in confident mood on Monday. 

‘When we won in 1992, Barcelona had lost two finals before,’ said Guardiola, who was named Manager of the Year on Monday by the League Managers’ Association.

Pep Guardiola doesn’t believe inexperience will hurt Man City in the Champions League final

City are preparing for their first ever final against Chelsea but Guardiola hopes they need just ‘one shot’ to lift the trophy

‘Sometimes you need time. In other clubs, it’s just one shot to be the champion. Hopefully that will be the same for us.

‘We won back-to-back titles for the first time, broke a lot of records for the first time and now arrive in the final for the first time. As a club we are not old in this case but in terms of how excited we are, nobody can beat us on that.’

An old foe awaits in the final. Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz sent Guardiola to the stands in the quarter-final defeat by Liverpool in 2018 and angered City with decisions in a tie with Monaco the previous season. But Guardiola said he ‘could not care less’ about the Spanish referee being in charge, adding: ‘I am so confident in my team and what we have to do.’

Guardiola and Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel have had deep respect for each other since sharing a meal in Munich six years ago. ‘It was a nice restaurant,’ said Guardiola. ‘We talked football, football, football and football. 

The Spaniard says no team can match City for excitement ahead of the showpiece in Porto

‘I learned a lot. With good food, good wine, it was a nice moment to share. Since then we have a good relationship. He knows and I know we want to win.’

A hallmark of City’s season, which has already seen them win the Premier League and Carabao Cup, has been leadership from the club’s five designated captains. Ilkay Gundogan, one of that group, heaped praise on another, Fernandinho, on Monday.

‘He is immense,’ said Gundogan. ‘He didn’t get as much game time as others but he knows exactly his role and what he has to say. He is a big part of our success. I feel we have the right dynamics and that is why I feel confident.’

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