Guardiola calls on Man City stars to battle nerves ahead of CL final

Pep Guardiola tells his Manchester City stars its ‘normal’ to feel anxious and nervous ahead of the Champions League final… and he won’t insist on extra team meetings as the match with Chelsea gets nearer

  • Pep Guardiola has told Manchester City players they will have to handle nerves
  • City are playing in the Champions League final for the first time in their history
  • Guardiola also admits he faces a tough call who to omit from the final
  • Kevin de Bruyne believes City are more relaxed under Guardiola this season 

Pep Guardiola has called on his Manchester City squad to squash any anxiety as they bid to make history on Saturday night.

City go into a first Champions League final against Chelsea after years of heartache in the competition also hoping to secure a treble.

Guardiola revealed that he is likely to leave his players to their own devices ahead of the final and delivered a pointed message to those not picked.

Pep Guardiola has told his players it is normal to feel anxious and nervous ahead of a final

Under Guardiola, City will play in the Champions League final for the first time in their history

‘I know exactly the way we want to play, with who we’re going to play and I’m not going to bother them much,’ the City boss said.

‘I know exactly what I’m going to tell them. The guys who are anxious and nervous, I will tell them it’s normal. They have to handle that.

‘It’s an incredible experience to be here, I never expected when I start my career to play even one final. We’re so lucky.

‘Leaving players out is terrible, it’s absolutely a disaster. I advise you don’t be a manager in your life.

City stars trained on Friday afternoon at the Estadio do Dragao in Lisbon ahead of the final

City’s keepers practise during the training session ahead of Saturday’s clash with Chelsea

‘I don’t have any nice words to give relief for the guys who won’t play. But my advice is to stick with the team, there are five substitutions and everybody has a chance. Everyone will be a part.

‘I feel incredibly sorry for them but it is what it is. The selection I will do is to win the game. Life will always give you another chance. Work harder next time and maybe you will be there.’

City finished 20 points clear of Chelsea as they ran away with the Premier League title race. The mood around the camp this week has been relaxed, with Raheem Sterling claiming on Thursday that he expects City to beat their domestic rivals.

‘The whole season we’ve done less technical training, fewer teams meetings,’ Kevin De Bruyne said.

Kevin de Bruyne admits City players have welcomed a more relaxed approach from Guardiola

He also admits less tactical focus and meetings have helped the team cope with fixture pile-up

‘He [Guardiola] has given the team more breathing space. It’s maybe something where he saw it was working, I guess that’s why everyone feels a bit relaxed about the situation.

‘It [reaching the final] has been one of the goals of the club and the players, being able to be here in the game tomorrow and to perform on the highest stage is a privilege.

‘Everyone understands the pressure. At least we can enjoy it and take it with a smile, take it as something where you want to perform your best.’

Guardiola added: ‘We have to do what we’ve been doing together for many years. To achieve the final of Champions League is like finishing a part of a process that started four or five years ago. The team that deserves to win will win.’

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