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Hiring an ex-referee, Foden’s sixth gear, Player of the Year choice – Every Word from Pep Guardiola’s pre-Nottingham Forest press conference



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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has looked ahead to the club’s next Premier League outing as they travel to face Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon.

City come into the contest knowing that they could place even greater pressure on their Premier League title rivals this weekend, especially after their convincing win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday night.

A Phil Foden brace, complimented by a second-half Julian Alvarez strike, added to Kevin De Bruyne’s remarkable headed opener to stun a brave Roberto De Zerbi squad insistent on sticking to their playing principles.

That win moves Manchester City two points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool with a game in hand on the Merseyside club, whilst Arsenal remain in top spot by a single point, also having played one game more than the reigning Premier League champions.

Manchester City are unlikely to have any additions to their fitness problems for the visit to the City Ground, although Erling Haaland’s availability is likely to be assessed the little time that Guardiola and his coaching staff have to prepare for the meeting.

Ahead of the meeting between Nottingham Forest and Manchester City, here is every word from Pep Guardiola’s pre-match press conference taken after the meeting with Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday night.

On Nottingham Forest (A) amid referee comments

“The only thing I’m concerned (about) is how we have to do to play good. The decisions is the decisions, and during the season there are moments that help you, the decisions, sometimes not. But we have to do what we have to do to beat 11 against 11 against Nottingham Forest.”

On whether he would want an ex-referee doing the role Mark Clattenburg is doing for Manchester City

“I don’t know. Listen, I go to the game and never, ever know who is the referee and when I see the face, ‘Oh I remember that face’… Never in my life talk about the referees before, during, and after. Never, ever, ever. If they make a mistake, they make a mistake, we are sad, and when it’s in our favour, ‘Oh we were lucky’.

“I don’t waste my time. My time is minor. Every three days, I have to economise or I have to choose exactly with my time what I have to do. I don’t spend one second (thinking) about the referees, and I think especially, especially, especially, especially when we lose, I proved that for many years here in this country.”

On whether the situation at Nottingham Forest and the club being galvanised by the ongoing issues is similar to Manchester City last season and the post-115 charges period

“I don’t know, I’m not there in the locker room of Nottingham Forest. So I don’t know what this impact is going to do. I can imagine, but I don’t know… But I think I’ve been once or twice in that stadium and always the atmosphere is unbelievable. Maybe an extra, for the fact that they are in a relegation battle and that’s why how important the results (are), especially yesterday (Wednesday) Everton won, so it’s not good for them.

“But what I’m concerned (about) is (Callum) Hudson-Odoi, all the strikers they have, what we have to control and the weapons that they have. We are used to playing with these environments and we’re going to try what we have to do. Of course, they’re going to use their home ground, home people to support. That is normal.”

On how he takes anything from last week’s games against Real Madrid/Chelsea in terms of rest and recovery

“Well we played at home against Madrid, so we were in bed earlier than we are going to arrive today (after Brighton). For example, playing Crystal Palace at 12:30PM – so we arrived (home) at 5PM or 6PM in the afternoon. To go to Madrid, it was really good, because we cooked a proper dinner, rest, and go. And arriving at 2PM or 3PM is not good because the players have one or two more hours to sleep and have to wake up for recovery and the better rest is one of the most important things to recover and we don’t have time.

“And after, tomorrow (Friday), say ‘Hi’ and go home and the day after, arrive in the training centre, take the luggage and go to Nottingham. That’s why it’s what it is. So we are used to it. In the past when we won the Treble or the Finals, it was similar, the same like that, and let’s go! That’s why I said, good food and rest and hopefully the good selection to win the game.”

On whether he is looking forward to a good holiday at the end of all of this

“A holiday… I have time to think about it now. Of course all the teams in that, especially ours, are tired. It’s normal at the end of the season. But at the same time it’s so exciting, fighting again, for the Premier League, it’s a dream come true. I could not expect it, honestly. I know always you dream to be there, but what happened in the past, I had this season thinking maybe we would not be able to do it.”

On whether it was hard to enjoy the Chelsea match due to tiredness, and whether you’ll need to find something from his winners at Nottingham Forest

“Yeah, of course. Of course we have to, of course we have to and they will put pressure. It’s what they have to do. But Chelsea was the real proof that we play in difficult conditions, we were not ready to compete against them, but we did it. And we played good? No. We were stable? No. But we found a way, we found a way to win and we reached the Final.

“Sometimes when you play 60, 65 games a season, the people say, ‘Ah you are not playing as the previous games!’ What do you expect?! It’s impossible to play at the highest level all the time, impossible. Impossible. But the most important is when you are not in your highest level, be consistent and take the points and win games. And normally, normally it happens to us at the end of the season, and that is so important.”

On Phil Foden and taking his game to another level this season

“I said many times, Phil has a sixth gear. But he cannot play all the time in the sixth gear. He has to play with the second, or the third (gear). And I think with time he will learn that. Today was much better than the two or three games before. Everything is so quick, no! Football, you have to say sometimes, ‘Slower,’ to make it quicker after, to surprise the opponent.

“And today was really good, the movements and in the right moment he attack when he needed to attack. But it’s a question of time. He will understand the game through years and years and experiences, and he’s going to take it because he loves to play and of course, his sense of goal is there and his work ethic is unbelievable, how he runs and presses and does it. In that terms, we are really pleased and happy for him.

“And congratulations to him, and hopefully he can in the last month we have ahead of us, he doesn’t stop, he can continue.”

On what he means by Phil Foden’s sixth gear

“Listen, I would love to go in sixth gear every single action. But after you are less precise, and when you are in sixth gear you lose the ball all the time, that is not effective. Sometimes you have to reduce the moments, because the moments he has to know when he has to be aggressive and has to be more calm.

“But it’s a question of time. He’s improved a lot in that terms from the beginning of the season and the previous seasons. Maybe with the third kid that’s coming in his family, maybe it will help him.”

On whether Phil Foden will be his Player of the Year

“He’s one of them. But I have the feeling that the one he wants is the Premier League, I would say, but I don’t know. It’s not my business, but he’s one of them, that’s for sure.”