Manchester City head coach Josep Guardiola spoke to the media today ahead of his team’s Champions League first leg match vs Real Madrid at the Etihad tomorrow night. Guardiola spoke about his team’s squad health, the mindset heading into a game like this vs the most successful team in the competition’s history, and more.
“They are doubts,” Guardiola said of the status of John Stones and Kyle Walker. “They didn’t train for the last week, ten days, John since Brighton. We will see how they feel, and take a decision tomorrow,
“We have a training session this afternoon at 4. We will see how they feel.
“We have time tonight and tomorrow morning to decide. I have to see today’s session to decide.”
Guardiola also spoke about what it means for him and his players to face a team of Real Madrid’s calibre this team into the competition:
“It’s an honour to be here in the semi-final playing Real Madrid. In the last decade we start to be there and it’s an honour to be here. We try to do a good game,” Guardiola explained.
“If we had to compete with history, we wouldn’t have a chance. Their history speaks for itself.
“We have to have the desire to compete against them. To play against Real Madrid is an incredible test. We want to try it. We need to suffer, to stick together, when we have the ball try to attack.
“It would be the same if we face Bayern Munich or Barcelona, the teams who have been here many times. A decade ago we weren’t here and now we are here. It’s good lessons for the future.
“The history, we cannot change it. Tomorrow, we play 11 v 11 and the players will decide if decision making is good.
“We play against players who have been in this position many times. That’s why they have things that maybe still we don’t have. But maybe there are things we have they don’t have, I don’t know.
“At the end it is 11 v 11, they have quality and it’s how strong they are mentally.
“This game will not be won by me or Carlo (Real boss Ancelotti) - it’s the players.
“Being in the semi-final is so good. One day we will not be here because it’s so demanding – look at the big teams who are not here.
“I say to the players, enjoy that moment. You never know if we will be back here at any stage.
“We try to be ourselves in the good moments and bad moments.”