‘It’s normal to feel nerves’ – Pep Guardiola ready for Champions League test

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola recognises his team will need to handle nerves and tension to thrive in the Champions League final.

City face Chelsea for European club football’s biggest prize in Porto on Saturday.

Guardiola, who twice guided Barcelona to success in the competition, knows well the challenge facing his players.

Guardiola and his squad have trained at the Estadio do Dragao ahead of the Champions League final
Guardiola and his squad have trained at the Estadio do Dragao ahead of the Champions League final (Nick Potts/PA)

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, 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.

“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.”

City came through tense encounters against Borussia Dortmund and Paris St Germain
City came through tense encounters against Borussia Dortmund and Paris St Germain (Martin Rickett/PA)

Guardiola feels his team will need to make the most of any good spells they have in the game.

The Spaniard 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.”

Guardiola admits it will be difficult to tell those players who will not make his starting line-up they are not playing.

He said: “It’s 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 have had mixed fortunes from the penalty spot
City have had mixed fortunes from the penalty spot (Shaun Botterill/PA)

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 shoot-out, as the Europa League final did in midweek, but Guardiola is not thinking too much about that.

He said: “We can train for 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 shoot-out.”