Man City vs Real Madrid: Pep Guardiola makes ‘overthinking’ promise ahead of semi-final
The Manchester City manager has said he will not repeat the mistakes of previous seasons in the Champions League.
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The Blues welcome Real Madrid to the Etihad with the score level at 1-1 following the first meeting in Spain last week, with Vinicius Junior and Kevin De Bruyne scoring the goals at the Berneabue. Ahead of the second leg, Guardiola said he ‘has a plan’ to deal with Real but assured supporters he won’t overcomplicate things.
City’s previous Champions League failures have become synonymous with Guardiola tinkering with his team and in the 2021 final the ex-Barcelona manager memorably failed to select a holding midfielder against Chelsea.
Guardiola also dropped Kevin De Bruyne for the away leg against Tottenham Hotspur in 2019 as City were eliminated and set up with Eric Garcia and Fernandinho at centre-back the following year as City were dumped out by Lyon.
“It’s nothing special. I’m not overthinking tomorrow, don’t worry guys. Nothing different than we have done in the past, just more fluid and play a little bit better knowing that the oppoent have the weapon. ,” the 52-year-old claimed on Wednesday, when asked about how his team will set up.
“I have an idea we can do something differently than what we have done [before] but that is to be more fluid in attack. I think it will happen for the natural way as we play at home.
“We have the feeling of relief and it doesn’t matter what happens, we go there. I think hopefully tomorrow we can be ourselves. It doesn’t matter, we will go there, be ourselves, that’s all we need.
“I’ve lost seven semi-finals, I’ve lost more than I win,” he added. “So in football there are many things you cannot control and we have to be ourselves - that is my only wish for our players tomorrow.”
Guardiola was also asked if he has concerns that Real could hurt City in transitional moments, like in last season’s 4-3 win at the Etihad, but the Catalan said he would happilly accept the same scoreline this time around.
“We’d like to have the game we had last season, I’d sign for it right now - not for a 4-3 but for how we played. I think it is not going to happen.
“Sometimes the game dictates itself and the transitions, the movements and how you lose the ball, if you are fluid with the ball, how you have the ball in certain moments and how you react. This competition has a lot of uncertain things that you cannot control. We will see, we have a plan and we’ll try to execute it and try to adapt as much as possible to what they do.”