Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City’s desire to lift the Champions League outweighs any inexperience as they prepare for their first final in the competition against Chelsea on Saturday.
A decade of heavy investment from City’s Abu Dhabi owners has delivered five Premier League titles, three of which have come since Guardiola arrived in Manchester five years ago, including the season that has just finished.
But the Champions League has eluded both City and also Guardiola since he won the last of his two European Cups as a coach at Barcelona in 2011.
“Sometimes you need time. The important thing is the way we are going to approach the final. We are going to play to win the game,” said Guardiola on Monday.
“Sometimes clubs need more finals to win one, others need just one shot to be champion. Hopefully it will be the case.
“This club is new for many things, but in this period we won back-to-back titles for the first time, we broke many records, we arrived in the final for the first time.
“As a club, as an organisation, we are not old in this case. But in terms of how satisfied and delighted we are to be there, nobody can beat us in that.”
Until this season, City had not even made it beyond the quarter-finals of the Champions League under Guardiola.
Defensive frailties, missed chances and controversial refereeing calls were consistent features of unexpected exits to Monaco, Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon in the previous four seasons.
But Guardiola’s men have got the breaks when they have needed them this season.
City were 35 minutes away from bowing out on away goals to Borussia Dortmund in the last eight before a favourable penalty award was converted by Riyad Mahrez.
Mahrez also scored three goals in the semi-finals in a 4-1 aggregate victory over Paris Saint Germain, with the French side guilty of missing chances and generous defending.
“We are quite a similar team from in the past when we were out,” said Guardiola. “The margins are little details. This year it fell on our side when for many years it was the opposite.
“Now we are quite satisfied to get to the final but we know if you don’t have a huge desire to win it, a huge desire to know what we have to do, it will not be possible to win the game, to win the Champions League.”
Portuguese international centre-back Ruben Dias was awarded the English Football Writers’ Association player of the year last week for his transformative impact since joining from Benfica in September.
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Partey Ends Goal Drought As Arsenal Beat Aston Villa
Arsenal delivered its best performance of the season to beat Aston Villa 3-1 in the Premier League on Friday.
Arsenal was completely dominant for most of the game and built a 3-0 lead before Jacob Ramsey pulled a late goal back for Villa, which then pressured for the last 10 minutes without coming closer.
Thomas Partey opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with his first Arsenal goal before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the lead just before halftime, converting the rebound after seeing his penalty saved.
Midfielder Emile Smith Rowe capped an impressive display by adding the third in the 56th on a quick counterattack.
The win lifts Arsenal up to ninth place ahead of the weekend games, with 14 points.
It was a much improved performance from Mikel Arteta’s side, which needed an injury-time equalizer from Alexandre Lacazette to salvage a draw at home against Crystal Palace on Monday.
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How I Was Sexually Abused At 13 By My Teacher, Ex-Man Utd Defender, Evra Makes Startling Revelation
Former Manchester United defender, Patrice Evra, has revealed he suffered sexual abuse as a teenager.
Evra, in an interview with The Times ahead of the release of his autobiography entitled ‘I Love This Game’, said the incident took place when he was 13.
The ex-France international is only now disclosing it at 40, even to his mother and family.
Evra recounted how he stayed at his principal’s home having moved to a new school. At his home inside the school grounds, the teacher would let him play Nintendo and help with his homework.
“I now recognise that he’d tried to groom me,” he said.
Evra continued: “The head teacher, believing I’d gone to sleep, would put his hands under my bedcover and try to touch me. I knew what he was doing was wrong, so I tried to push him away and punch him.
“I was tough, but I was scared too, although I couldn’t show him my fear. This could go on for 10 or 15 minutes, like a fight. He wasn’t joking; he was going hard trying to get my pants off.
“There were no words spoken in the dark, but he was touching himself and getting sexually excited by what was happening.
“I didn’t tell anybody. I was too ashamed to speak to my mother and I didn’t know if anyone else would believe me. I haven’t told anybody the full story until now.”
Evra reveals that “On the last night at that man’s house, when he knew that I was going back to my family, he finally succeeded: He put my penis in his mouth.”
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I’m Determined To End My Career At Liverpool, Says Salah
Mohamed Salah has told Liverpool he wants to stay for the rest of his career, but the Egypt forward insisted the success of his contract negotiations with the club “doesn’t depend on me”.
Salah’s current contract expires in 2023 and Liverpool are trying to finalise a new long-term deal.
The 29-year-old has so far been unable to come to terms with the Reds amid reports he wants wages that would make him one of the Premier League’s top earners.
That has sparked fears Salah will leave Anfield eventually, a concern fuelled when he flirted with Real Madrid last season.
But, on the eve of Liverpool’s clash with arch rivals Manchester United on Sunday, Salah put the ball in his club’s court as he said he would stay forever given the chance.
“It doesn’t depend on me, but if you asked me I would love to stay until the last day of my football career,” Salah told Sky Sports on Friday.
“But I can’t say much about that, it’s not in my hands. It depends on what the club wants. It doesn’t depend on me.
“At the moment, I can’t see myself ever playing against Liverpool. That would make me sad.
“It’s hard. I don’t want to talk about it, but it would make me really sad and at the moment I don’t see myself playing against Liverpool, but let’s see what will happen in the future.”
Salah has been in superb form for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season, scoring 12 goals in 11 appearances in all competitions.
He is the first Liverpool player ever to score in nine successive games in all competitions and he also became the fastest player to score 100 goals for Liverpool in September.
Salah’s majestic goals against Manchester City and Watford recently were considered early contenders for goal of the season.
778 total views, 479 views today
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