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Semi-final preview, strength of Japanese football, opponent concern – Every Word: Pep Guardiola’s Pre-Urawa Red Diamonds press conference (FIFA Club World Cup)



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has addressed the media ahead of Tuesday’s FIFA Club World Cup semi-final clash with Urawa Red Diamonds.

Pep Guardiola’s side are bidding to become World Champions in Saudi Arabia this week, travelling to the Middle East to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time in Manchester City’s history.

Manchester City booked their place at the tournament after winning a maiden UEFA Champions League in June, with the victory over Inter Milan securing a landmark treble, as the Sky Blues also won the Premier League and Emirates FA Cup.

The treble-winners have the chance to win a fifth trophy of the year with victory at the Club World Cup, and face Urawa Red Diamonds in Jeddah on Tuesday, after the Japanese side beat Club Leon in the second-round.

Manchester City’s semi-final clash will take place at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, with the Blues competing in either the Final or Third Place Play-Off, dependent on Tuesday’s result.

Kevin De Bruyne is part of the Manchester City squad for the Club World Cup, with the Belgian having not featured for the Blues since the opening day of the campaign in August.

Ahead of Tuesday’s match, Pep Guardiola discussed a number of topics, including Japanese football, his squad, and the opportunity to compete at the FIFA Club World Cup.

On competing at the FIFA Club World Cup:

“It’s Manchester City’s first time here and it is a pleasure to be her, an honour. We take it as a privilege, it’s an honour to be here. To be sitting here and play tomorrow means you have done something exceptional in the past. We have to take it, play a game tomorrow and deserve to be in the final.”

On the difficulty of Urawa Red Diamonds:

“We know how complicated these competitions are, I have had to be here on other occasions. To reach the Final is tricky. We don’t know them much, we got as much information as possible.

“Japan national team is beating Germany, winning games against the best in the world. Football in Japan is strong. Football in Japan grew up incredibly in the past ten years. They are sharp and quick on the transitions and unpredictable in many cases.

“I respect them a lot and of course I want to be in the final next Friday of the Club World Cup.[We are] competing very soon while Urawa [Red Diamonds] has more time at the Club World Cup, they are more rested, fresher, but that’s how it is.”

On trying to win the FIFA Club World Cup:

“We know how hard it is to win this competition and you have to have done something special in the past, but we wanted to win against Crystal Palace. In the Premier League you have another game in three days, here it may be another lifetime.

“It’s difficult to win here and the players know this. That’s why we want to play well tomorrow. But to play the final we know we have to play this first final, play well to get it.”