Ahead of the Champions League final at the Ataturk Stadium on Saturday night, Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has spent the last two days studying opponents, Inter, and insists that they have the quality to hurt his side.
The Premier League club will clinch a historic treble should they triumph over the Nerazzurri in Turkey, but could be without influential full-back Kyle Walker, who is suffering with a back injury, and the Serie A side will look to exploit any weakness in the English armoury.
Guardiola wary of Inter qualities
Although Inter have the best defensive record in the competition, the Spanish tactician reiterated their strengths elsewhere and that they have a greater history, after winning the trophy three times before.
“They are a team with a lot of history and have done very well in recent years,” Guardiola told the press conference (via Gazzetta dello Sport).
“It is not just how well they defend, but how good they are with the ball, on the break and always finding the striker. They have an excellent building process that starts with [Andre] Onana, a goalkeeper who is one of the best in the world at this stage.
“That makes our high pressing difficult, because you can’t control all the players on the pitch. Inter are used to controlling matches. They have a good plan against anyone and we have to defend well. We are in the final against a great team.
“I am optimistic and we have confidence, but we are aware of the qualities of our opponents. To win, we must know well which system they use, how they play with or without the ball. We have to figure out how to beat them.”
Manchester City not thinking of making history
Despite being one game from greatness and having already completed one treble whilst in charge of boyhood club Barcelona in 2009, the 52-year-old insisted that his side’s recent trophy-filled history has no influence on the match.
“It is nice to dream of going to Istanbul and winning and doing it with this group,” added Guardiola. It is a dream to be at this point again, but in the final it does not matter what you did before, your history doesn’t count, something in which Inter are certainly better than us.
“It matters what you do in those 90 minutes to be the best team. To secure the cup and to be crowned champions. We know we have to win in Europe to be considered at another level, like the best teams. It really is that simple.”