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A future as Head of FIFA or UEFA, dry grass, Community Shield regret – Every word from part two of Pep Guardiola’s pre-Fulham press conference



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has once again discussed a varied list of topics in the second part of his pre-match press conference this week.

City are entering a crucial phase of their Premier League season, knowing that victories in their three remaining matches will leave them champions of the division for a record-breaking fourth successive campaign.

Fulham at Craven Cottage is the first of those three fixtures, with Manchester City returning to London just three days later for another away trip against Tottenham, before closing out the season against West Ham at the Etihad Stadium.

Speaking in part two of his pre-match press conference, Pep Guardiola discussed a wide range of topics including the possibility of him taking a leading role at either FIFA or UEFA, as well as the impact high and dry grass can have on performance.

Here is every single word from the Manchester City manager speaking at length on Friday afternoon ahead of the weekend’s football!

On federations sending off legal letters about the scheduling of the new FIFA Club World Cup starting 2025

“Normally the organisation is against one competition because it’s not involved in that competition. It’s because they don’t suit perfectly for their own interests in the competition. And tomorrow will be another part of another organisation, it will be Premier League, or UEFA, it will not agree with that competition, because it’s not involved in that competition, and they cannot take benefit from that competition.

“And always, we are in the middle. One day, they will sit with eachother, they will realise there is 365 days in a year, no more. We can change it, we can try it, but I think it doesn’t work. And maybe one day they will say, ‘OK, we are going to do it in that way’. So it’s as simple as that.”

On whether all the parties need to sit down and discuss

“What do you think? But it’s fair enough what I said, honestly. It’s a fair point.”

On the importance of the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup successes in getting Manchester City to where they are in the season

“Really good. People talk about the biggest trophies, but when you win these trophies, it’s so special. Even the Community Shield, you know that. Ah, we would have loved to win it in extra-time, you lost it on penalties. This competition (Super Cup) is so nice.

“Especially when the club didn’t have it once. For other clubs, they have a lot, but we never had the Super Cup, because you have to win the Champions League, or the World Cup you have to win the Champions League. Once we are there, we have to take it. And they lived it for that. And being here again, at the end of the season, the chance for two titles in the pockets, to try to win the next one and the next one, and it’s nice.”

On the timing of the FIFA Club World Cup success

“I don’t have it fresh in my mind. I remember before, we equalised against Crystal Palace at home in the last minute, when we give away a penalty and… But I don’t remember before that if we were not good, I don’t have that feeling. We started well in terms of points but not in the way we were playing.

“I remember Sheffield United we won, but the play… Fulham we won, but it was not good. But it’s normal for the beginning of the season. But after, when we played better, we dropped points but we were much better than some points in the season. But in the Premier League it happens; sometimes the results don’t relate to how you perform, in a good way or a bad way.

“So that’s why the Premier League is always fair, because every team has ups and downs, and at the end we only win because you deserve it, that’s why I like it a lot this competition. And I think winning the World Cup helped us, and especially when we came back after two or three days, we went to Goodison Park, always it’s difficult and the way we performed after we went 1-0 down, and these guys, still we can rely on them.

“And we can do it, and here we are, one week left, to finish the Premier League, to give all we have in our bones to perform, the first one, 12:30 on a sunny day in London, I don’t know the grass. Last season it was so, so dry. High and dry. We have to adapt, we talked about that, we have to adapt, like it was in Nottingham and try to fly back with three points.”

On whether Manchester City will want to play in the 2025 Club World Cup

“I would say that if they organise the event, we are invited anyway. We will be there. But I don’t know how it’s going to finish, like I said to him.”

On the fact it’s worth a lot of money for the club

“But not just for the money. Of course, it’s important. We are here for the club’s sustainability, that’s why after since 2015, 2016 I read lately in one newspaper that we are the 4th team with the highest net spend in the Premier League.

“And look at the amount of titles; not the 1st, not the 2nd, not the 3rd. Of course, the money is important but not just that. It’s organised for the best teams in the world and Man City is invited, invited because the rules give us the chance to go there for what we have done in the past. We will be there. What can I say?”

On whether he could ever see himself as Head of FIFA/UEFA

“Me there?! Absolutely not. I don’t like ties. I like to go to wear sneakers; no, no, no, no. I don’t like meetings and official dinners, and this kind of stuff, no, no. If you ask my advice, I will give it, but… I don’t think so (that a lack of football people causes problems). People prepare. It’s not about that. Football players were there, and they will decide what works for that organisation.

“Not for other issues. Even when you said some person criticises the team, it’s fair enough. But I will defend my team, I have my interests, and I will defend my club. And everyone has his also, you as a journalist and all the institutions and organisations involved in football, I understand properly. But the people complain about that? They could complain for many other things and don’t do that, because it’s their own interests.

“Everyone sees his own house, the neighbour? Look what happens all around the world. What happens all around the world, and we are sitting here don’t do anything. Anything. It’s here, round the corner, and one day we will come there. It’s full of injustice, all around the world, and we are just sitting. Everyone looking at himself.”

On the difference the grass makes

“A lot. Yesterday we trained part of the session with dry, high grass, to adapt, to feel it. And after we went to another, normal one, it’s a massive difference. Massive. Massive. It’s another game. And you have to adapt. Six, seven, eight years here we played many times, a few times with that, and we adapted. But the difference is important. So we have to adapt. Feel it, and it’s what we have to do.”

On how many away games this season City have dealt with such an issue

“Few. Because winter time here in England. 12 months here, and 10 is winter. It’s raining, but we arrive in the early and last games of the season it’s a part that you have to think about, and we talked about it. Guys, it is what it is, and 12:30. If tomorrow the game is 8PM, it’s completely different to 12:30. So you have to adapt.

“I saw the forecast, it’s sunny tomorrow in London, lovely city, so you have to adapt in that situation. Playing in another rhythm, another way, and the passes have to be stronger, faster, quicker. Control has to attack more the ball, so it’s completely different. It’s not basketball. It’s like if you play in Wimbledon, and Roland Garros. The surface is different. Talk with tennis players, it’s different, the speed of the ball is different. It’s the same in football.”