'Enjoy the pressure' Pep Guardiola message to Manchester City players ahead of Paris Saint-Germain

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Man City 27 April, 2021 - 05:00pm 20 views

Is Mbappe playing against Man City?

Mbappé Fit for PSG vs. Manchester City After Injury Scare. ... However, the 22-year-old Mbappé will be in the squad for the match against City, with PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino saying Tuesday that left back Juan Bernat and reserve goalkeeper Alexandre Letellier are the only players missing. Sports IllustratedMbappé Fit for PSG vs. Manchester City After Injury Scare

Is Mbappe injured?

Kylian Mbappe has recovered from a thigh injury and is fit to play for Paris Saint-Germain against Manchester City in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final. The AthleticKylian Mbappe injury: PSG forward fit for Champions League clash with Man City

SEMI-FINAL TIME | CITY v PSG

Man City 28 April, 2021 - 12:00am

Kylian Mbappe 'asks about Premier League' amid Liverpool transfer speculation

Mirror Online 28 April, 2021 - 12:00am

Kylian Mbappe has been asking PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino about the Premier League and life in England amid speculation linking him with a move to Liverpool.

Mbappe is hoping to be fit to face Manchester City in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final after suffering a thigh problem in Paris-Saint Germain's win over Metz on Saturday.

The 22-year-old has previously been linked with interest from City - but is more commonly touted as a target for Real Madrid and Liverpool with his PSG contract set to expire next summer.

And Pochettino has revealed that while he converses with his star man in French, Spanish and English, Mbappe prefers to speak to him in the latter as he looks to master the language.

"Kylian loves football, he loves to talk about football,” the former Tottenham and Southampton boss told The Guardian . “He asks about England – how is the game, the mentality and the culture there?

“He’s only 22 but very mature, confident in his talent and open. He can speak French, of course, but also perfect English and Spanish.

"I speak in English and Spanish with him – more English than Spanish. I said to him the other day: ‘I need to practise my French with you, to improve,’ and he said: ‘Sure, but it’s better for me to talk in English.’ He loves to practise different languages."

Pochettino grew up in Spanish-speaking Argentina - so the fact Mbappe prefers to talk to his manager in English could speak volumes as to whether the France star sees his future in the Premier League or La Liga.

He has been long been linked with a move to Madrid, although the Spanish club's current financial problems could make that difficult.

Mbappe has also previously admitted his admiration for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool - although finances could similarly be a problem, with the club's latest accounts revealing pre-tax losses of £46million to the end of May last year.

PSG are of course hoping to tie the World Cup winner down to a new deal, having beaten to Madrid to his signature when he bought him from Monaco for £130m in 2018.

Guardiola: I won't sleep ahead of Neymar meeting

ESPN 27 April, 2021 - 08:50am

Pep Guardiola said he won't sleep ahead of Manchester City's Champions League semifinal with Paris Saint-Germain if he thinks too much about the threat posed by Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

City will come up against PSG's formidable forwards in the first leg in Paris on Wednesday and Guardiola said the pair are so good, they can give opposing managers restless nights.

"Always I believe the quality of these players, they have too much," Guardiola told a news conference on Tuesday. "I tried to sleep well last night and that was when I was not thinking of them. Incredible top players, their quality. We are ready to try to stop them, defend as a team, play good football and try to score goals."

Guardiola first faced Neymar when the Brazil forward was playing for Santos against Barcelona in the Club World Cup in 2011.

After joining Barcelona in 2013, Neymar moved on to PSG in 2017 but Guardiola said there would be more Champions League trophies in the Camp Nou trophy cabinet had he stayed.

"I remember against Santos, I said this was the king of Santos and all the players were open mouthed: 'Oh my god, what a player,'" Guardiola added.

"A joy to watch as a spectator, he has Brazil on his shoulders, the No. 10, it's not easy to wear.

"I'm pretty sure if he'd stayed in Barca they'd have won two or three more Champions Leagues. With Neymar, [Lionel] Messi and [Luis] Suarez, the best three I've seen."

Since then, Thomas Tuchel has been replaced as manager with Mauricio Pochettino.

The former Tottenham boss has been able to get the best out of Neymar since he arrived in January, leading to speculation the 29-year-old is a candidate for the Ballon d'Or and is set to extend his contract.

"I have already talked about it [his contract]," Neymar told a news conference on Tuesday.

"It is not a topic now. I feel great. I am happy this season. It has been by far my happiest this season.

"My main objective is the Champions League, not the Ballon d'Or. That is not a priority. I want to be a leader for my team. I want to win. In the future, I will want to remember I have managed to win the Champions League a few times."

Every word from Man City and PSG managers ahead of Champions League tie

Manchester Evening News 26 April, 2021 - 09:02pm

City come into the game on the back of winning the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, which Guardiola admitted last week would take a back seat to the PSG game in order of priority when it came to team selection.

Mauricio Pochettino also faceed the press and was full of praise for City, Guardiola and Phil Foden in particular. He was joined by Neymar and Riyad Mahrez also spoke.

Lots to digest there, so we'll tidy up those quotes and bring you the best talking points from a very talkative Pep.

Not sure what the question was there, as the translation from French wasn't great. It seems the earlier answer about having possession against PSG has been questioned.

My french is super, extraordinaire. We are not good about defensive departments, we are not the best team. We are good with the ball, we run a lot without the ball. Our strengths are 11 players run a lot. Tomorrow we have to run a lot because PSG are so strong. We try to let them run as much as possible.

He's so important, of course he is. Unfortunately some periods he was injured, we solve with other players. Tomorrow is the same, we do it together.

Can you be yourselves vs PSG? Bayern dominated chances and possession but still lost.

Bayern lost with 50 shots on target, PSG had four or five and won. Football is unpredictable. You can have better chances or statistics and lose. We try to win knowing sometimes football is unpredictable. The important thing in Bayern vs PSG is both teams attacked. We have to be cautious in some departments, or maybe not. The football sometimes dictates the strategy more than the manager wants to do.

He's going to play. He's not going to miss this game, I'm sure of that. I want him to play.

Definitely. Every title is special that we won together, here, Munich, Barcelona. We are the face to the media but how many work behind the scenes. The players are the reason why but especially this season is special for all of us, the players have done us remarkable. We are two victories away in this year difficult for everyone around the world. We lost part of families, friends, it's difficult being so consistent in the season. It's not finished, we have two titles, tomorrow we start the dream. I don't want to win tomorrow or go to the final, I want to be ourselves. It happens after, the players quality they decide, not the manager.

They play in different positions. Both are young incredibly skilled, they are in competely different positions so difficult to compare. What is important is PSG will be so happy to have Mbappe and you can't imagine how happy we are to have Phil. He's a City supporter, he's in the national team. He won that on the grass. I don't give presents to the players if they don't deserve it or they are a City fan. He's playing lately because he's at a good level.

Always it happens in my career in the semi-finals you are more calm. I have the sense of work well done already, I see the team so happy in the right moment for the tension, responsibility. But also say we try to do a first good game. I have that feeling but this competition, with the qualities we could lose. We have a good mood, a good situation.

A young player, he'll have the world football ahead of him. Already a French champion, World Cup. Quite similar to Haaland in terms of wow, how many goals, pace. Looks like a nice guy. Mendy is his friend, says he's a nice guy. We're going to try to beat them, all of them.

I remember when I showed clips of Santos I remember I said this is the king of Santos and the players mouths were open saying 'oh my god what a player'. He's a joy to watch as a spectator, the personality, he has Brazil on his shoulders. I'm sure if Neymar had a longer stay in Barcelona they would win two or three Champions Leagues more. Those three were unstoppable the best three I saw upfront in my life. He decide to got To Paris, not a bad decision, a nice city and nice club. I want him to have stability, no injuries. I'm a big admirer because he helped to make football better. It's a pleasure to play a semi final against PSG.

When you play 4-1 in the second leg [PSG vs Barca] you are more relaxed. All the managers want to concede few but it's not like that. We know we will suffer. I know the weapons they have upfront. Everyone who loves football knows the quality they have, but we're in the CL semi-finals, what can you expect. PSG is not just two players, they are many situations. We have to know them and try to attack them. I will not play 90 minutes thinking how good this player is just how to beat them. I learned from Johann Cruyff, you have to enjoy the game, enjoy the responsibility. Top players enjoy situations because they enjoy responsibility, that's why the greatest players win this competition because they play it like a friendly game. The mythical sentence one before the final in 1992 in Wembley was to go out and enjoy but I will not tell the players that, I'm no Cruyff. But enjoy the travel, the coffee in their airport, the hotel, watching the other game tonight, the walk, the training. It's not about the moment, we're privileged to be one of the best four teams in Europe this season. It's what I want to see in my players. That's why Cruyff had this idea. Once we arrive in the final, it's not to be worried or concerned incase we lose. If we lose, we try again next season. Once you arrive in these stages you're nervous because you think of the consequences, not the pleasure of trying to beat them. This is the mindset of the greatest players in all the sports. We did it already, we try to do it the next one.

Impossible to dominate for 180 minutes?

The best balance is to have the ball. If you have the ball all the time the balance is there. We will concede counter attacks, it's impossible. If you defend so deep, Neymar, Mbappe Di Maria, Verratti, Marquinhos, they have a ot of weapons. They are used to play teams who defend 90 minutes and they find a way. That is not the best way to defend against the team who have everything. The best way is to impose your game like we have for five years. Of course Lyon beat us on the counter attack but we tried to impose our game. I learned in this competition as close you are the chances you have to get through. When you think about the opponents, Chelsea and Madrid and Bayern and Barcelona are also like that. At this stage you don't find opponents without skills. Dortmund with Haaland and Reus, everyone has skills. We know the opponents. The way we enjoy to play is have the ball, when you have the ball and use int he right mometns the team is balanced. Not defending more or deeper, that's not true, it's the way you play with the ball and create stability in the team.

How do you prepare these kinds of battles

Always I believe the quality of the players there are not defensive strategies to stop. They are too good, I try to sleep well last night and I slept well when I didn't think of this. They are incredible, top, top players, hopefully they can play. We will try to stop them, we train well all together as a team, play good football as a team and try to score goals. It will not be a surprise. Of course we have to adjust something, when you play against these players. At the same time, we've fought arriving at this stage for many many years, this group of players in four or five it wouldn't make sense to not be who we are. We have to adjust something like we adjusted against Tottenham, we will adjust against Zaha against Palace next game, this is normal. We try to impose, to be what we have done these five years together. We try to be ourselves and get the result we need for the second leg.

Can you play with freedom now?

Break teh quarter finals doesn't mean you will reach the final. That is to play good games. It's the first one, it was a relief because now next season when we play this competition we know we are able to do it. They don't give you the chance to reach the final, I'm not thinking about the result, I know what we have to do. Just in the second leg, one game at a time like we have done many times this season - win that game. Doesn't matter goals for or against. I know the strategy I will tell them and we'll try to do it.

Everyone it fit, ready, and happy. All of us, as a manager incharge of this club we're grateful to give ourselves this opportunity to be there. When this club it's normal to be there every year like Barcelona and Madrid who have many Champions League. For us it's new and we're grateful to live it. We've looked at this group of players many years to be here. It's incredible, something new, so nice to go to Paris with all this kind of people.

A long time ago. Benjamin was injured and Bernardo was in Monaco. I don't think the other players have the experience, we don't think about it. Some players play well and have a bad performance, others don't play there and have a good performance. We travel with the idea to win the game no more than that.

Why was it so important to you, and what would the CL mean?

Every time you get older you realise it's difficult to win titles. If you start the next season telling me I have to win one title, doesn't matter which one, I say it's so difficult. The Carabao isn't the most important but is so nice. We had one night to enjoy the win against Dortmund, we travelled back from Tottenham with just PSG. Now I'm not thinking at all to win the CL, just to win this game. I said to the players, travel to be ourselves and just to win the game. That's the reason we travel there.

It's the second time we are there, we are not the elite in this competition but we want to be there. When the owners took over a decade ago they took steps to improve in England first, then this. The owners and managers and staff got this position right now. Every time we play this competition, we are lucky to live right now where we are. Before isn't the right word, right now I'm incredibly happy to travel with this club to Paris to be ourselves and win the game. After go to Palace to win one of the two games to win the league. The Champions League is the nicest one but the league is the important one. After play Paris.

It's nice like the Premier League, the important ones. We are in the last stages. We try to go to Paris to win the game.

I don't know, no comment, it's not my business. He had a good moments during our period here but this season was the best season with us, no injuries, he was stable.

Some good stuff there from Mahrez. Guardiola will be up next.

I don't know, theyre a wonderful team. You saw against Bayern. We have our strengths, they have theirs, we'll see tomorrow how it all works out.

Did you imagine that growing up?

You can never imagine that happening. We're going to play right next to where I was born, where I grew up. It will be the first time I'm going back to play, it's special. Ultimately it's about playing our game, show our character on the pitch.

Is City more stable, self-assured? Do you have the mindset?

We've always been sure about our games. We've always been 100%. It's true we're better this year, we're in good form, approaching the last stages of the season in good form. You try to play our game, with personality, character, show we're here to win and not just make up the numbers in a CL final, We're here to win it.

What is your form down to?

I think it's obviously when you play more, you're more decisive, confidence is high. When confidence is high it's easier to perform. I'm confident, I'm happy, when it's like this it's easier to perform and I'm performing better.

Is this why you joined City?

Of course, you play football for these games in these stages. I knew when I signed for this team, this club, this manager, we'd arrive at this stage. But it's not a final thing, you have to show you deserve to be in a final. You do that by playing your football, showing personality in the big moments.

What have you had to change without a striker?

When I go as a false nine, I've played a couple of times. You have to drop in the middle. I'm not a striker, I'm not Sergio or Gabriel. My quality will be different, try to help the team and do what the manager wants.

No, no. These kind of games are not thinking about before, he was the manager or he beat us. Like the final of the Caraba Cup, we try to win and play our football. Whatever happened in the past if we lost against Tottenham, we try to play our game. We play every three days and that's our strength.

As a boy you dream of these stages, semi-finals, finals. Now here we are, we have to step up, play as always in the PL or the Carabao Cup final, or against Aston Villa, we have to play the same.

Biggest game in your City career?

Of course but it's not a final thing to arrive in a semi-final, You have to show you deserve to be here, deserve to be in a final. That's what we'll try to do tomorrow.

I don't know if I'm in my best shape but I feel very good. In the most important moment of the season. Tomorrow we have to make a big game to try and win.

Will you stay longer than two years left on contract?

I don't think about this. I'm happy here, I love the club, everyone, the city. I concentrate on the team and we'll see.

Manchester City

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