Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola admits he will have to calm some nerves among his players ahead of the Champions League final, but says they must take advantage of one key factor.
City face Premier League rivals Chelsea for European club football’s biggest prize in Porto on Saturday evening, and Guardiola said: “I know exactly the way we want to play, with who we’re going to play and I’m not going to bother them much.
“It’s an incredible experience to be here. I know exactly what I’m going to tell them. The guys who are anxious and nervous, I will tell them that’s normal.”
Guardiola would like his players to savour the occasion but realises Chelsea will make it tough.
He said: “Some players will go out there with tension, some may struggle, but they have to handle this.
“I’m pretty sure we have to suffer to win the final. It’s nice to say enjoy it but sometimes it’s not possible. You have to be resilient and adjust. We will try to be ourselves and do what we can.”
Guardiola feels his team will need to make the most of any good spells they have in the game.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: “We suffered against PSG and Dortmund but we stuck together.
“Tomorrow we will not have 90 minutes of one side dominating. We are going to suffer but when we get momentum we will have to use it.”
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Guardiola admits it will be difficult to find the right words for those players who will not make his starting line-up.
He said: “Terrible. It’s absolutely (a) disaster. I advise you, don’t be a manager in your life.
“I don’t have any nice words to feel relief about the guys who won’t play, but my advice is to stick with the team. There are five or six substitutions and everybody has a chance.”
City could pay the penalty
One of City’s few weaknesses in Guardiola’s time in charge has been their record from the penalty spot.
There is a possibility the match could come down to a penalty shootout, as the Europa League final did in midweek, but Guardiola is not thinking too much about that.
He said: “We can train the penalties but you can not apply the tension when it happens for real.
“I will talk to the players and I know what I will tell them but I’ve had a few things to think about more than the penalty shootout.”