Man City face Inter Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul on Saturday evening; when questioned on whether winning the Champions League was a dream or an obsession, Pep Guardiola and Kevin De Bruyne agreed it was both
City will play in the Champions League final for the second time in three years on Saturday
Pep Guardiola and Kevin De Bruyne admit winning the Champions League is both a dream and an obsession for Manchester City.
City are bidding to win the competition for the first time, and complete the treble, as they face Inter Milan in the final in Istanbul on Saturday.
Guardiola’s side have dominated the domestic scene in recent years but repeatedly fallen short chasing Europe’s top prize, the one the club covets most highly.
City playmaker De Bruyne and manager Guardiola both spoke at a pre-match press conference at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium on Friday.
De Bruyne was asked first if he felt victory was a “dream” or an “obsession”.
The Belgium international said: “Maybe both. It depends who you ask. Every professional player wants to win the Champions League and be on top.
“If you can win the Champions League, you’ve reached one of the biggest things you can.”
Guardiola was in agreement when asked the same question.
The Catalan, who guided Barcelona to victory in the competition twice, has taken City into the knockout stages seven times but their runners-up finish in 2021 is the closest they have come to success.
“Absolutely it’s a dream,” he said. “To achieve things you have to have correct portion of obsession and desire, it’s a positive word, and willingness to try to do it, but of course it’s a dream.”
Guardiola was later asked if he and his squad had learned from their defeat to Chelsea in the 2021 final.
“I would like to tell you [we learned] lessons [from the last final two years ago], but I don’t know. It’s a different game, it’s two years later, many things happened,” he said.
“I’m pretty sure that what we planned, what we had in mind was to try to have success, try to play a good game against Chelsea. It didn’t work.
“Tomorrow will be the same. Have a plan, have an idea, communicate it to the players. If we have success, the ideas will be good. If it’s wrong, the ideas will be bad. We are ready. The players will give absolutely everything.”
“The most important thing in these games is thinking it is 0-0 and we are losing. We are not losing at 0-0. At 0-0, Italian teams think they are winning and they are not winning at 0-0. That’s why you have to get rhythm, but at the same time, be stable and, in the right moments, step forward.”
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“After reaching the final we didn’t have time to think about it as we still had games to play. Only now are we realising what we have achieved but we are not relaxed.
“We are concentrating very much and we will fight for every inch of the pitch against an excellent team. We must be focused and make no mistakes.
“We know who we have to play. We know Manchester City are probably the best in the world. They have proved that, they have been defeated very few times. We know what a player Haaland is. Clearly we will have a special eye on him.
“I have prepared something but it will be all of Inter that have to defend, trying to limit not only Haaland but all of City.”