Pep Guardiola has assured fans and media that he will not overthink the crucial UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Manchester City’s manager has faced criticism in the past for tinkering with his team during decisive matches, including the 2021 Champions League final loss to Chelsea and the quarter-final defeat to Olympique Lyon in 2020.
However, Guardiola stated that this time around, his team will stick to their usual approach and not do anything out of the ordinary with the 52-year-old expressing during a press conference that he and his coaching staff will rely on the strategies and tactics that have brought them success thus far in the competition.
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“Hopefully you can see the lineup tomorrow. I cannot tell you here, otherwise, Carlo Ancelotti will be listening,” he said.
“I am not overthinking tomorrow. Do not worry, guys. So, nothing differently [will be done] than we have done in the past, just [for] our game to be a bit more fluid and play a little bit better, knowing that, of course, the opponent always has their weapons.”
Guardiola also spoke about his legacy at Manchester City since he joined the club in 2016. With him at the helm, the club has seen great success, winning four Premier Leagues, one FA Cup, and four League Cups. He, however, has not brought European success to Man City, a point that is often brought up when listing his accolades.
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“My legacy is already… Our legacy is exceptional, already. We have been here knock-out stages of the Champions League for many times already, so we are not stupid to know how important is tomorrow’s game.
“It is maybe one of the most important games since we are together here. We cannot deny that – for the competition, for the rival, for many things. But I said to the players, so live it like a huge opportunity. Enjoy the moment.”
Currently, the tie is evenly poised at 1-1 after the first-leg clash in Madrid last week. Vinicius Jr scored the opening goal in the 36th minute before Kevin De Bruyne tied it up in the 67th minute.
Last year, these two teams also faced each other at the same stage of the tournament, with Real Madrid emerging as dramatic winners with a 6-5 aggregate score. The Spanish club went on to win a record 14th title against Liverpool in the final.
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When asked what makes Real so good, specifically in the competition, Guardiola said: “What a great question. I do not know. If I knew that, I would know the method of beating them.
“I think, basically, I would say the reason behind that, is they have always had great, great quality players. That is the main reason. Without players of that standard, last year, this year, you would not be able to achieve that. When AC Milan won with [Arrigo] Sacchi, [Fabio] Capello, when we won with Barcelona, we all had quality players, top, top, standard players.”
The victor of Wednesday’s match will advance to the 2023 Champions League final, where they will face either AC Milan or Inter Milan which will take place on June 10th at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.