As Pep Guardiola heads into his first Manchester City players ahead of the first leg against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday – “I’m not Johan Cruyff,” he said – but the sentiment will be the same.in five years, the Manchester City manager is thinking about the “mythical words” – as he described them – uttered nearly 30 years ago by his mentor, Johan Cruyff. “Get out and enjoy it,” was the message from Cruyff, the Barcelona coach at the time, to his players before they set off to Wembley Stadium for the 1992 European against Sampdoria. Guardiola won’t say the exact words to his
Enjoy the coffee in the airport terminal before the flight to Paris.
Enjoy thein the French capital.
Enjoy the walk with teammates on the.
Most of all, enjoy having the eyes of the world on you.
“Enjoy the responsibility, the pressure, enjoy the fact that maybe you top players enjoy the situations because they take responsibility. That’s why the greatest clubs win these competitions because they play them as friendly game.more in this kind of situation,” Guardiola said on Tuesday. “This is the elite. The
“That’s what I want to see in my team, and that’s what we’ll try to do.”
It was a rousing, stirring performance from Guardiola in his pre-match news conference, the shackles seemingly off a manager and deep soccer thinker who often appears to carry the world’s weight on his shoulders. After all, he has finally led City beyond the competition’s quarterfinals for the firsthe arrived in 2016.
“I have the sense of the work well done already,” Guardiola said with a wide smile.
Yet, the hard work has just started.
PSG is looking to go one better than last season when it lost in the final toand contains two of the world’s most talented and mesmeric players.
Guardiola was even in a festive mood talking about Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
“They are too good!” he said before laughing. “I try to sleep well these last nights, and I slept well when I was not thinking of them.” Mbappe, Guardiola said, was a player with “the whole of football ahead of him.” As for Neymar, Guardiola knew the forward was special when he first saw him at the Clubin 2011 when Barcelona and Neymar were at Santos.
“I remember he was the king of Santos, and all the players were open-mouthed, saying, ‘Oh my God, what a player,'” Guardiola recalled. “A joy to watch as a spectator. He has Brazil on his shoulders, and their No. 10 is not easy to wear.
“I’m a big admirer; he helps improve our football.”
Some are billing the match as the “Oil Derby,” a nod to the clubs’ respective ownership from Qatar (PSG) and(City). Others label it a game between many individuals (PSG) and a team (City).
Indeed, City winger Riyad Mahrez emphasized the collective in his squad by saying: “We don’t have big stars like (Lionel) Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo, but everyone can play, everyone makes a difference.”
And Guardiola accepted that PSG has the advantage of experience because the Frenchjust eight months ago and, with Mbappe and Neymar, have World Cup and Champions League winners in their ranks.
In the City team, only Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, and Raheem Sterling remain from the side thatin 201, when it lost to Real Madrid. Bernardo Silva , too.
Guardiola got quite emotional when he discussed what getting to this stage meant for City’s players, specifically in this pandemic-blighted season when they have already won the EnglishLeague.
“It’s remarkable what we’ve done,” he said. “We’re two victories away (from winning the) in a year that it’s been difficult for everyone, for families worldwide. We’ve lost families and friends.
“But to be so consistent, we have twofor, and tomorrow we start a dream. What we want is not to go to the final. I want us to be ourselves, the way we play. That’s my wish, my dream. After that, the players with their quality will decide.”
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80
Sign up for Daily Newsletters
Copyright © 2021 The, LLC.