Connect with us


Stefan Ortega’s future, Phil Foden’s GOAT potential, Bayern Munich failure – Pep Guardiola’s embargoed pre-Wolves press conference



| Last Updated:


Pep Guardiola has spoken during the second-half of his pre-Wolves press conference as Manchester City return to Premier League action on Saturday evening.

Manchester City come into their first of their final four Premier League meetings in the midst of a staggering 31-game unbeaten run across all competitions, and fresh off the back of a 0-2 win over Nottingham Forest last time out.

Goals either side of the half-time interval from Josko Gvardiol and Erling Haaland at the City Ground punished Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, who squandered multiple opportunities to strike against the reigning Premier League champions.

Wolves will likely pose a very different challenge to the largely low-blocking Forest side, with Gary O’Neil confirming in his own pre-match press conference that Pedro Neto holds a chance of featuring at the Etihad Stadium following injury.

In part two of Pep Guardiola’s pre-match media address, the Manchester City manager touched on issues including Stefan Ortega’s Etihad Stadium future, his ‘failure’ at Bayern Munich, and Phil Foden’s potential of becoming City’s greatest player of all-time.

Ahead of Manchester City’s Premier League meeting with Wolves this weekend, here is every word from Pep Guardiola’s embargoed press conference with the media from Friday afternoon.

On whether he ever envisaged he would stay at Manchester City this long

“Yeah… 300 more (Premier League matches), no! But yeah… Oh, thank you for the present anyway. (Congratulations!) Thank you. It’s a good milestone, I’m so proud. I’ve done it, we have done it here together, yeah, so good.”

On whether he is still enjoying it as much as ever

“12:30 coming here is the best day of the week (winks). I’m not (feeling tired), well sometimes I’m tired, but I don’t play, I don’t have to run. So that’s why it’s fine, it’s fine. It’s good to be here, the only thing I can say is that. Final of the FA Cup and challenging again to retain the title.”

On how tough the decision is choosing between Ederson and Stefan Ortega

“Eddie is the first option, but we rely incredibly with Stefan (Ortega), what they have done in the past and the present, and it’s really good that the injury was not like we expected after. He had a lot, a lot of pain, but the ligament was not damaged, it was not broken, because for the keeper the shoulder is complicated.

“We had a long week. If we had played in the midweek it would not be possible to play (Ederson), but yesterday, the day before yesterday, training. But I have to speak with Xabi (Mancisidor) and we will decide tomorrow (who starts).”

On whether Manchester City are in a better position than ever with their goalkeeping quality

“We have an incredible… Of course, Scott Carson is so important in the locker room, I’ve said it many times. But it’s another role, for the age, for everything, but we have an incredible two keepers. UN-BELIEVABLE, both of them. They are so reliable and with their own qualities, so I sleep really well. With these keepers, I sleep really well.”

On how he deals with the expectation to win all the time

“One time it’s good, it’s so demanding and that is better. If I don’t train City, or Bayern Munich, or Barcelona, the people don’t demand that. But it happened since day one when I became manager of, especially first season when we won the Treble and after sextuple, Barcelona. Every year…

“So I failed in Bayern Munich because I didn’t win the Champions League. I would have failed here if Ederson doesn’t save in the last minute against (Romelu) Lukaku (in the 2023 UEFA Champions League final). So I have to accept it. But it’s better because I am in the positions in the teams like the people demand of me that we have to win everything.

“But nothing changes when you win one trophy, and it doesn’t matter which one, or it doesn’t matter the people say, ‘No you have to win the Treble every season’, I know. I would not say they are right, I’m wrong.

“I know my opinion how difficult is everything and I know exactly when we can do it, when we cannot, and I learned from many years that in football, in sport, not always you can win. And you have to accept it, improve on that, and go to the next. I’m not different to many managers that believe you always cannot do it.”

On whether the pressure makes winning an addiction

“It’s better, I’ve said many times, I would love to be in the semi-final of the Champions League. It’s better to be here than don’t fight for the biggest, biggest prizes. It’s much better, knowing even now doing what we have done, this is the exception. This is not normal. This is my feeling right now. Still I’m surprised that still we are here fighting for the Premier League again, and again, and again.

“This is not normal. And it’s a question of time. I don’t need to see Man City, with me or without me, not winning sometimes titles in seasons to realise, ‘Oh how good was it in that moment!’ I know it right now! I don’t need to drop to realise that it’s not normal what this group of players have done this many years.”

On whether trust in his players is one of the biggest things and his strengths, knowing that he can trust they can ‘get the job done’ if they play to their full potential

“That is not necessary to live that situation in the four (remaining) games to not have trust in the players. We can lose all four games, and that means I don’t trust my players?! It’s impossible. That is like… it’s impossible! It’s impossible. I see them, I saw them, I still feel it what they are doing. There’s no chance. It’s not about winning or losing is going to change my opinion this season on what they have done. It’s not going to…

“These two titles, we won two prizes, we are going to win the third and the fourth of the season; it’s not going to change at all the opinion! It’s not dependent for my opinion about the club if we lift or don’t lift the title. Of course we want it, we are fighting for something that no team in this country has done ever, EVER.

“So of course it’s a big challenge to do it, we want it. But my opinion; it depends if we win in the last minute or not? No chance. I love them so much.”

On whether Phil Foden, at the end of his career, can be considered the greatest ever Manchester City player

“This club has a long, long history. It would be forgetting what happened about the players when they played in Maine Road, like everybody knows. I think the club has been built from the history of many, many, many top, top quality, top players. I have the feeling he will be remembered if he continues his career until the end here, if he continues in that level, one of the best, that’s for sure.

“Why don’t we wait until he retires? And after we can see. Still he’s young, he’s so young. (You’ll be gone when he retires, so we can’t ask you then!) I will give you my telephone number, you can call me and ask me, and I will answer you (to Jack Gaughan).”

On whether he knows anything about Stefan Ortega’s future

“No. I would love him to stay, the club loves him to stay. We will let him feel, yeah, I would love it. But I don’t know.”

On whether it is similar to Ilkay Gundogan’s situation last year

“It’s different. He has contract. (Ilkay) Gundo finished his contract. It’s different. (Would Ortega like to go?) I don’t know. It’s him. Everyone has their own life, wives, kids, desires, and I don’t know. I think he’s fine, he’s really happy here, but I could understand perfectly for the fact that he is more than 30-years-old and, ‘I want to play every, every weekend’. So, honestly, I don’t know.”

On how strong is the England team/attacking unit

“Yeah, really good. For many years. It was really good, the golden generation, the Paul Scholes and others, you know, with Fabio Capello manager. Yeah, really, really, really good. They are really good. But, it’s not just the talent of strikers, it’s all the package and group, and Gareth (Southgate) knows perfectly what he has to do.

“I have the feeling, everyone has the feeling that England’s national team in the last events, Euros, World Cup, made a step, it’s on the verge, they are really, really close. It was final, semi-finals there, and when you arrive in these stages every two years in European competitions, at the end it’s going to happen. It’s quite similar to us; at the end, we were close, we were close, we were close, and at the end, we lifted it, we did it.”

On whether he gets the sense Phil Foden is proud to play for England

“Well I see the reaction when the players play the European cups and World Cups, the reaction of the people on the streets in the summer time, how the people love it, they’re crazy for the UK national teams – that proves everything for their reaction, how proud they are. And at the end, as football players, it’s the best. Your country is proud of what you’re doing for your country, in the way you are playing, arriving in the last stages. It’s just believing it. If they believe it, they can do it. Believe it, believe it, they can do it.”

On whether Stefan Ortega could ever be Manchester City number one if he played more games

“It depends on the performance from both keepers. In that, I try to be as much professional as possible. What I see every day, when we are not the same players, some persons from years ago, maybe next season Ortega is not performing well. Or maybe better. I don’t know. But of course they have to challenge and they have to be ready, because we know the opinion we have on him.”

On Erling Haaland’s overall play, energy, and body language vs Nottingham Forest

“He has been injured, and sometimes the rhythm, I don’t know, but it’s nice. We spoke about that, he played good, really, aside from the goal; his movements, his dropping, and his control and everything, the pitch was difficult. They were more tired the opponents, it’s the last minutes, we know that from the beginning he was not ready but maybe for half an hour, or 45 minutes, even winning 0-1, the impact from Erling (Haaland) always is good and he did really well, really well.”

On how Erling Haaland has dealt with the setbacks

“It’s part of the human beings, the sport. (How does he handle it?) It’s a process, it’s like when we talked about Phil (Foden), it’s a question of playing and living your own experience. Life is not about, if the manager says, ‘It’s going to happen that, you have to deal with it in that way’, it’s not about that. It’s that you have to live it, maybe it happens, it’s normal 60 goals and maybe you can drop a little bit, or not, if you learn that, next season will be better.

“It’s a question of knowing exactly what you think about, what happened this season, or not happened and you can do better, what you have to do for many reasons, not just Erling (Haaland), me included. Experience is I can tell you, but you have to live for everyone, for himself, otherwise it looks like a grandfather talking about the (past), people don’t care. You have to live you.”

On whether the injury and time off could have been a blessing so Erling Haaland could really get his energy back

“Erling (Haaland) had always energy, I didn’t see quite different to last season. But still he’s young, he’s 23, it’s not that he’s more than 30. He knows exactly, he knows perfectly his body, he’s so professional, he knows exactly what he has to do. But sometimes in football, it happens, it’s not just dependent on you, it depends on mates, opponents, many reasons. What is important is he helped us this season as well to be there and it’s the last effort. Just two weeks, and it’s over.”