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Guardiola: History won't define this year's final

9 Jun 2023
Pep Guardiola UCL press conference

Man City boss says side won't dwell on Champions League final loss to Chelsea in 2021 ahead of facing Inter on Saturday

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Guardiola: 'It's a dream to be here' External Link

Pep Guardiola has insisted Manchester City's previous appearance in a UEFA Champions League final will not determine the outcome against Internazionale Milano in Istanbul this Saturday.

City were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea in 2021, in what was their first appearance at that stage of the competition, and Guardiola wants his side not to dwell on the past as they aim for an historic Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League.

“Two years ago we were here but in a different situation because of COVID," he said in his pre-match press conference. "We will do our best. A final is how you behave that specific 95 minutes, not about history.

“We have to be better than the opponent – it doesn't matter about the group stage, the FA Cup, the Premier League… We have to be better in this game.”

'Attack a bit better'

Guardiola, who has won the competition twice as a coach with Barcelona but yet with City, hopes his team can become the second from England to win the Treble, after Manchester United, and says his players know what they need to do.

“Hopefully we can attack a little bit better than we did at that time," he said. “We want to finish differently this time.

“But we have to know exactly what we have to do to beat this opponent in terms of approach, with and without the ball we have to be focused."

'This is why I came to City'

One City player who will not be weighed down by the 2021 defeat is Jack Grealish, who joined from Aston Villa shortly after.

He said he signed for City so that he could be a part of European club football's showpiece event.

“This is the exact reason that I came to City,” Grealish said. “To play in a Champions League final and have played such a big part in everything this year in the league and FA Cup, too.

"It’s what you dream of when you’re a youngster growing up and even five or six years ago it was what I was dreaming of.

“So to go and do it in a final with this group of guys now is a privilege and a dream come true.”

An occasion to remember

Erling Haaland expressed similar views but remained focused on finishing an "incredible" season on a high.

“We have had an incredible season, but we have to finish it in the best way possible," Haaland said. “I know we are all going to give it everything to win this final.

“We will have to be at our best against a very good Inter Milan side and we’re excited to get out on to the pitch.”

Also in this series

Part 2: Why Guardiola must keep it simple against Inter
Part 3: How losing to Liverpool helped Inter's progression
Part 4: Who are Inter's key men Man City must watch?
Part 5: Premier League clubs in Champions League finals

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