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Plans for a museum, losing 7-0, the decision to join Man City – Every Word: Josko Gvardiol’s Pre-RB Leipzig press conference (UEFA Champions League)



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Manchester City defender Josko Gvardiol has looked ahead to Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League clash against RB Leipzig at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola’s side are looking to secure top spot in their European group in the hope of drawing a more favourable contest in the last-16 of the Champions League, having booked their place in the next round during the previous gameweek.

Three successive 3-1 scorelines against Crvena zvezda, RB Leipzig, and BSC Young Boys were followed by a 3-0 win over the latter at home last time out in European competition, and the visit of RB Leipzig this week means a win would ensure City’s place as group winners.

An Erling Haaland brace, including a strike from the penalty spot, was complimented by a sumptuous Phil Foden effort the last time Manchester City graced European football’s highest stage, but they will be looking to return to winning ways after two successive draws.

City come into the match fresh off the back of an end-to-end 1-1 draw against Liverpool on Saturday afternoon, with the points shared for the second time in a row for Pep Guardiola and his players after a 4-4 draw away to Chelsea prior to the international break.

The destruction at the hands of City at the Etihad Stadium last season was amongst the topic of conversation at the pre-match press conference ahead of the clash, with Croatia international and former Leipzig star Josko Gvardiol addressing the media at the City Football Academy.

Here is every word from the Manchester City centre-back on Monday afternoon!

On life in England so far

“I was on loan in Croatia before coming to Leipzig, 18 years old so I stayed in Zagreb to grow up. Leipzig helped me a lot to become a better person and better player and maybe be ready for the next stage which is the Premier League. This is the best league in the world and it’s an honour to be here in the best club at the moment.”

On whether he spoke to anyone before joining Manchester City

“I didn’t, I’m young, just 21, before I came I had some doubts if it was the right moment. Whatever I do I believe in myself, I thought that’s it.”

On adapting quickly to Manchester City & English football

“I am still adapting, it’s a process. It takes time, I wasn’t there in pre-season. It is what it is, I’m trying to learn as much as I can and be ready for every game and hopefully in January we will have time to work on my positioning on the pitch.”

On personal motivation

“I have the mind map on my wall in Zagreb, when I go home I look at it. It followed me through my young ages and I’m going to remember for the rest of my life and think of doing a small museum at home!”

On the biggest challenge since joining Manchester City

“Every game is a new challenge. Especially because it’s my first season, looking forward to every game. Lots of games until the end of the season, we need to stay healthy, of course there are a lot of rotations from the manager. For me it’s good because I’m still young. In the last three years I had three surgeries, at the moment I’m happy with that decision. I’m still adapting and still young. Every game is a new challenge.”

On the importance of finishing top of their Champions League group

“As a player I want to win every game, my former club and teammates and friends, it will be nice to see them again. When the game starts, I want to win and take the first position.”

On memories of Manchester City 7-0 RB Leipzig

“I would like to forget about it! I remember I woke up and it was sunshine and after 30 minutes it was raining. It was a mess. During the game, we conceded six goals and after the game nobody talked with anyone. It’s football, we lost against the winners. I didn’t know about City at that time, I was focusing on myself. It was a big opportunity to go through but it’s the Champions League, if you want to be the champions you have to face the best clubs.”

On whether it is easy to decide to join a team like Manchester City

“It’s difficult. The standards are high, the thing is that last season is different to this season. Everyone is fully motivated to beat City. It’s a big challenge and we’re going to accept it.”

On playing under Pep Guardiola

“Pep is different. What I like most is that he has a look at every detail, trying to make the best in every role, every position. It’s an honour to learn from him and hopefully I will become a better player.”

On facing Erling Haaland compared to playing alongside him

“I’m happy to be his teammate. It wasn’t just about Haaland, it was the first XI on the pitch, it was a hard game. As a centre-back I was looking forward to facing Haaland but it didn’t finish well. He scored five goals in 60 minutes. When I saw him getting subbed off I was happy.

“I’m happy to be part of this team and being surrounded with amazing players is something some people can’t imagine. I take every day to learn from the best. You never know what will happen next season. Use every day to make yourself better.”

On Erling Haaland

“Erling is… at the beginning of the game he is nowhere, then he turns up and scores a hattrick. What he’s done, I don’t understand how but I enjoy him.”

On his breakthrough moment at the FIFA World Cup

“It was a great moment last season, my first World Cup, reaching third place. At the end, they were saying the best centre-back, but I didn’t care about it. I was not hoping for it, just focussed on the national team. I know what they did in Russia, my goal was to reach the final. We faced Argentina and the rest is history.”

On playing at left-back compared to centre-back

“Being a full-back, I used to play there for Zagreb and the first games for Leipzig. I prefer it, I like both positions but the positions are not the same so it takes time to change the mindset. The position in the game is different, lots of running. I like it but it will take time to change and adapt.”