After defeating rivals Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup last week, there is only one match left between Manchester City and a historic team. triple. If the team can beat Internazionale on Saturday night, the big-eared trophy will finally belong to the Citizens and thus the culmination of a fantastic season for Pep Guardiola’s side.
The Spaniard has won Europe’s most important club competition twice with FC Barcelona, but after things have always gone wrong at Bayern Munich and City, Saturday should mark liberation for the most successful and influential coach of his generation.
As we also saw with Feyenoord during their quest for the Dutch title, Manchester City’s players and staff did not want to spoil their chances by getting too excited, but at the press day the big word emerged anyway: the treble is on the horizon. .
“It’s mainly about winning this tournament, but if we win it already means the treble,” Kevin De Bruyne remains cautious. “In the eight years I’ve been here, we’ve always reached the quarter-finals, but we’ve never won it, so questions about that keep coming up. Now we want to change that.”
Rodri agrees with the Belgian: “We have to prove that we are capable of winning it.” “If we win, we will be one of the biggest teams as a club. This is also how we approach this match as players.”
John Stones has proven to be an important link in Guardiola’s team this year. The England international looked like he was done at the club, but suddenly found himself in a new role. The former defender has been playing as a dominant midfielder in recent months and excelled in that position in the semi-final against Real Madrid.
“It’s unbelievable how it worked out,” Stones admits. “Of course everything is easier when you win, but I wouldn’t have dreamed of it.” He is especially grateful to his coach for the transformation he has undergone. “He sees the game like no one else and has a good look at the qualities of the players and what they can and cannot do.”
“His training methods and the way he explains what you have to do really makes the difference. He knows what to expect from you and already knows that you can handle it before you even realize it yourself,” the player gives an insight into his coach’s approach.
“New players have to get used to the way it works,” says De Bruyne. He added: “In other big clubs, there is sometimes less anticipation for an easier match, but we should never lose. Then it immediately turns into a crisis.”
Neither player will need to prepare for a game like Saturday evening’s match at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, and this should be the icing on the cake of a wonderful seven years for Guardiola in Manchester. Will they finally be able to deal with Champions League Syndrome?
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Immediately after the final, you can read a comprehensive report on the Champions League final between Manchester City and Inter Milan on Eurosport.nl. You can follow the latest sporting news from football to cyclo-cross and from snooker to biathlon here on Eurosport.