After the disappointment of the Manchester Derby on Saturday, attentions now turn to the Champions League, and the final group game against Dinamo Zagreb. City have already progressed to the Round of 16 as group winners, so it could be chance to see some of the youngsters in action. Ilkay Gundogan and Pep Guardiola faced the media ahead of this one.
Here are the main talking points…
Gundogan’s hopes in Europe
Ilkay Gundogan opened the press conferance by talking about the teams hopes and ambitions for Champions League success this season.
“I hope so, to win domestic titles doesn’t guarantee the Champions League, it’s a new and different competition compared to the Premier League, it’s so tough, the knockout stages get tougher and tougher.”
Gundogan on City’s form and motivation
With City in a tough run of form, Ilkay Gundogan was asked about the motivation of the team and how they can get themselves out of this rut.
“First of all, it’s good to be through as soon as possible, it’s a great feeling to be in the knockout stages. We have a responsibility to ourselves to play a good game, there’s so much talent in our squad that anything else would be”
“I think it’s nothing unusual, after having two great seasons it’s even tougher to perform for a third one in a row but it’s also a challenge, a challenge to play the same successful kind of football every single season.
It’s normal we go through this kind of period. We have to stick together to come back to what we did in the past. The sooner we reach our best levels the sooner we can be successful again.”
Three key players ruled out for City
Pep Guardiola confirmed that Sergio Aguero, David Silva and John Stones are all unavailable for the weekends game. Sergio Aguero continues to recover from a muscle injury, whilst David Silva has took a blow to the knee and cannot be risked. John Stones was also taken off at the weekend and Guardiola has said he is to be out for ‘a few weeks‘.
Guardiola on Phil Foden
A large section of today’s press conference was centred around the man who is surely to start tomorrow night, Phil Foden. He was first asked about the midfielders abilities.
“He doesn’t speak too much, it’s important not to be shy on the pitch and he’s not. He’s growing this season, in some departments he can improve, such as without the ball.
Sometimes he has to think a little bit more on decisions without the ball, but that is normal at his age. We’re more than satisfied with what he’s doing”
He was then asked about if he could replace the soon departing David Silva:
“That is our wish, David is a legend, the amount of games and titles he’s won, but we believe Phil can do it.”
And finally, what is his role in the side:
“He always has a good impact from the bench, some players don’t have that, with Phil he does. Against Atalanta it was an incredibly important game and he played”
Guardiola on Dinamo Zagreb winger Dani Olmo
One of Zagreb’s shining stars, Dani Olmo, was the subject of huge praise from the boss because of their days in the Barcelona academy.
“He came from the Barcelona academy and it’s not easy to come here. With the Under-21s, with Spain he was one of the best players. I’m so glad for him, he’s doing so well.
Guardiola was then asked if he was a possible Manchester City target in the future:
“We want to buy 100 players every month, one of them is Olmo. We’ll see.”
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