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Margaret Thatcher, insight into signing Rodri, Anfield referees – Every Word: Pep Guardiola’s pre-Liverpool embargoed press conference part two



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Manchester City have the opportunity to take the lead in the Premier League title race this weekend as they face off against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

City come into the clash fresh off the back of securing yet another place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, defeating FC Copenhagen 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium to round-off a 6-2 aggregate scoreline against the Danish club.

Manuel Akanji and Julian Alvarez would provide a 2-0 lead inside 10 minutes for the reigning Champions of Europe to more or less put the tie beyond any doubt, however Copenhagen would fight back with a goal from Mohamed Elyounoussi to half the deficit on the night.

Erling Haaland would ensure that there would be no major shock on the cards however, as he brought a ball down from Rodri over the top of the Copenhagen defence, to cooly slot home into the bottom right corner and continue his staggering European spree of goalscoring.

Manchester City will find out their opponents for the quarter-finals of the Champions League next week, whilst immediately turning their attentions away from the competition to focus on the challenge of Liverpool this weekend.

Just one point separates the two sides at the top of the Premier League table in a crucial month for Manchester City in particular, with the meeting against Jurgen Klopp’s players accompanied by a Manchester derby and a clash with Arsenal at the end of the month.

Ahead of Manchester City’s return to Premier League action this weekend and their opportunity to lead the hotly-contested English top-flight title race, here is every word from the embargoed section of Pep Guardiola’s press conference!

On Jurgen Klopp’s thought process behind leaving Liverpool

“No, no, I think he said to me what he said to all of you, the media, the reason why and I wish him luck, of course.”

On how draining it is to lead a club like Liverpool and Manchester City for a long time

“The demand is high for all the managers, not just I would say on my behalf, myself, there are a lot but everyone handles it the way (they want to). Everyone, all of us, we have ups and downs as managers, we feel guilty, we feel responsibility from many people who trust you, the club you represent – that is normal.

“And sometimes you take longer, sometimes it depends on the environment. I think every case is completely different, and every manager – it doesn’t matter the league or the team – it depends on many circumstances that you stay longer or shorter. Normally you stay shorter when you don’t win games and they sack you.

“Normally that happens, but if you win games and you are happy, you can stay longer. But every case is… I don’t want to compare situations and different scenarios. Always I was in Barcelona and I was really, really tired and left, and here I stayed longer than I was thinking when I arrived. I think every case is different.”

On whether he gets tired

“Now, no.”

On what makes him tired

“I think there is no person to know when you will be tired, when you will be happy, when you will be sad, when you know your feelings and moods. The most important thing I learned in my job is don’t go against your mood. When you are sad, you are sad. Tomorrow you will be better. When you are happy, and enjoy, and being happy…

“When you are tired, I’m tired, because sometimes there are influences from people, from family, from friends, from results, from many things that make you feel. And the people now, today in modern life, you have to be so happy all the time. You have to show how good is your food yesterday that you ate, and you have to show to the world.

“And sometimes we are a little bit sad, OK it’s normal. When I was a little boy or young or a teenager, I don’t remember all the time I was a happy man or a happy boy. And you tell me how you will be tired? I don’t know. I am sometimes, but now for my job, still I’m fine.”

On whether there is pressure to not sure tiredness in front of players:

“Good question. This is a good one. But sometimes, when we know eachother incredibly quite well I would say, for the lot of people here, and always they know when I am tired, because I am, or I am not in a good mood, they know it, they realise it. And it’s not a problem because…

“Sometimes you have to pretend you are a superman or super human beings and you have to be perfect in everything, and have to win all the time, a thousand million titles, and you have to exceptional things all the time because I am here, and it’s not. I am the same like you, like all of you, like my players, that there are good moments and bad moments, and no more than that.

“But today the people are confused; you have success? That guy is perfect. You don’t have success? This guy is not good. It’s boring to justify this kind of things.”

On Margaret Thatcher only sleeping four hours a night

“The Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was stronger than me. Absolutely I need to sleep more, more hours. Definitely.”

On the importance of Rodri with Anfield’s atmosphere

“A lot! But not just Rodri I would say, but of course he’s so important, a really, really important player. But to make a good process, a good pressing or the other ones, it doesn’t depend on just Rodri. Rodri can arrive when he can arrive, he can play when he can play, but we need the contributions from everyone to impose our game and try to win the game.”

On the ease in identifying Rodri as a potential Manchester City signing

“Always we try to figure out how good a player will settle with us; for the quality. Of course he was playing in an important team. Football wise, he was born in Villarreal, where the people and the Academy were really, really well and after went to Atletico Madrid and in Atletico Madrid you have to win titles, it’s a top, top team in Spain and playing in Europe in every season for many, many years in the Champions League.

“And when you take a player with that environment, you have the feeling that he’s well educated and with good managers and has something but at the end, here you have a big presence, have quality with the ball, we saw some details about personality, but at the end you never know. You’re signing for the best but you never know.

“All the teams, managers, sporting directors make a good signing, and good mistakes – it happens. But the mistakes, what is it about? For the manager not letting them play, for the decision because at the end they have problems in personal life, the manager thinking they don’t have good vibes or whatever – there are many, many, one thousand, million reasons sometimes when it doesn’t work.

“But what we can say is for the fact he played a lot of minutes, Rodri is a better player than when he arrived. He was a little young boy and now, for the experience and many games and good moments and bad moments, he has become a top, top, top class player.”

On whether Rodri could become a coach one day

“Yeah he can be. Always I have the theory that the good holding midfielders can become good managers. Because I said many times, the winger plays for ‘my’ actions, the holding midfielders have to see the game in a global perspective, and I think they have a little bit more… But, it depends on the desire that he will have and if he wants to do it or not.”

On whether it bothers him what people outside of the club think about Manchester City

“It’s normal. That is normal. We have a public job and the people, the job cannot be done without the opinions of external people – it’s normal for the good ones, and bad ones. It’s not a problem, we have to live with that, we have to deal with that, otherwise you cannot be in that world. But at the end, inside of the ropes, we know who we are, what we have to do, to continue to be there.”

On whether there is something different about Anfield when it comes to referees controlling matches

“When that happens, you have to perform better. We cannot control what happens in this stadium with the referees, you have to do better. It’s the only thing we can do. It’s not the first time, and it will not be the last, and we have to perform better. It’s the only chance I knew from the past when I was in my hometown and now, many, many years after.

“We have to overcome the situations, and to do the big achievements to try to fight for the fourth Premier League in a row that no team has done, never, ever. This is the type of challenge we have to face, overcome absolutely everything. Otherwise, it will be difficult in that case to win on Sunday, but whatever happens I’m pretty sure we’ll perform well, and whatever happens still we have many, many games to play.

“Last Wednesday was in and out, next Saturday will be in and out in the competition FA Cup, but here knowing and accepting that it is a really, really, really important, important game for the title challenge, still I have the feeling that many things are going to happen.”

On whether other people in the game – aside from players – are intimidated by Anfield

“Listen, it’s the same question. The only thing I can handle is our performance, who we are and what we are as a team and this is the only thing we can deal. And if it happens, it happens – we’ll see.”

On the difference between Manchester City and Barcelona/Bayern Munich is that there are no critical voices inside the club

“Every club has it’s own targets to be criticised by the outside. Barcelona is completely different than here. What I said before; we are in a world that the people have an opinion. What the right-back from Liverpool has said, is what a lot of people, people, people think. It’s not news, I would say. That’s why it’s not necessary to say much.”