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Pep Guardiola on Zinedine Zidane: “When you think that you’ve got one of his tactical plans covered he’ll hit you with another”

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Guardiola speaks to the press about the game tomorrow

Real Madrid v Manchester City: UEFA Champions League Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Pep Guardiola’s press conference was earlier today, before Zidane’s. Pep spoke about Zidane’s tactics, Ramos’s absence, and more.

We’ve outlined Zidane’s press conference here; and Varane’s press conference here.

Here are the most important Guardiola quotes:

On his set up, and preparing for Zinedine Zidane’s tactics:

Quite often managers plan for games but in the end the game speaks for itself. you can set up a certain way but the way the game develops dictates how you will play. We want to impose our own style, whether we are defending or playing on the counter or Madrid are countering. We want to take the game to certain areas of the field where we can hurt Madrid and show the qualities of our players. I hope we can prove Courtois is in good form by giving him a very busy evening but we also know there may be periods where we have to defend. The situation on the night will determine things.

It’s difficult to know when you think that you’ve got one of his tactical plans covered he’ll hit you with another or revert. It is already very difficult to analyse tactics. In the dim and distant past we played the first leg and what we can remember from that we will put to good use. Since then, we’ve watched all Madrid’s games since La Liga restarted so we’ve spoken about how we think Madrid might approach this game but what we have done more is speak as a squad about how we can hurt Madrid and cause problems for them. That is what we’ve been focusing on in the buildup to this game.

We want to play against opponents that have their best players on the field. You don’t need me to tell you Hazard is one of the best in the world and he can turn a game and influence a result. It’s down to Zidane to decide whether to risk him if he isn’t fully fit but we’re aware of the dangers he can bring and we will be ready for him if he does play.

On Sergio Ramos being out

We knew that Ramos was going to be out from the minute the game finished at the Bernabeu. Of course he is key to them and he has been a great player throughout his career but as I just said now we are focusing more on what we can do to influence and win the game than who might or might not be playing for Madrid.

On Karim Benzema

He’s a fantastic player, I have been aware since he was a young lad at Lyon and he’s a great player but since my time at Barcelona there have been 20 players that have come on the scene and people have asked if we can compare with Messi. 20 players.

Does it mean more to beat Real Madrid, given the Barcelona rivalry?

No, not especially. The fact we play against Real Madrid or not, I will always be a Barcelona supporter. It is the club where I grew up and gave me part of who I am but when I was with Bayern and played against Real Madrid or Barcelona I wanted to beat them. Nothing special. I want it for our players and our club to go to the next step, I don’t lose concentration on this kind of thing because I focus on what we have to do as a team to beat Real Madrid.

On Real Madrid’s Champions League DNA

I have the same feeling, they are more than a team. They have that way of playing where you can never relax even if you are winning 3, 4-0 they always come back and have that huge personality to become the champions they have been. It is the biggest team in this competition and they show to the world but now football has changed a little bit it is so competitive the distances between teams are so narrow. I know we have the better team but we have to show it on the pitch tomorrow. If we do things well, I think everything is going to be good for us.

Rodrigo also spoke to the press: