Welcome back to Pep Talk, a recap of Pep Guardiola’s press availabiklity This week in the Champions League build up, Pep touched on a variety of topics.
Let’s dive in-
‘It was so important after the early results, especially against the team that we faced. I was really impressed with how strong they are. Since the beginning of the season, the mood of the team is really good. The relationship between themselves is spectacular.’
‘Every season starts the same. You know the answer. For many clubs, including ourselves, it is incredible to be here in this comp. The first step is to win the first game. We are still far away from the big target. Considering what happened, we are not allowed to dream.’
‘The reality is to win the home games is so important for qualification. We’re still a little bit away from where we want to be. Zinchenko is back and other players are back. Gundogan, Bernardo and Joao are in good condition. We expect Mendy back soon so the team will grow.’
‘ It was an honour to play extra games, unfortunately we could not play and get the semi against Bayern. The problem is what it is. The problem wasn’t preparation. The problem was four or five getting a positive COVID test and especially the injuries in the beginning.’
‘It delayed our prep. All the clubs are in these circumstances. Not just us. It is important the players come back fit and train in the mood with the way they are playing..’
‘We have to play six games. Every game is important. Every game is three points. I cannot deny when you play the first game away it is not as important as when the first game is at home. The objective is to get three points.’
‘I hope Virgil gets well soon and recovers. I don’t like important players being injured and out for a long time. I don’t know him, but he looks strong. I look forward to him coming back and making our league better. He’s one of the best. All the best to him and Liverpool.’
‘It was a tough moment. I felt so responsible. I was not able to drive the club and the players. I feel so responsible. We have to accept the reality, we were not good enough. [Against Lyon]’
‘ We didn’t play bad, but at the same time we made mistakes and we can’t do that in this competition and go through. The reality is, every player and manager, not just here, has to dream with high expectations. We have to accept it with humility.’
‘When we do this it is the best way to improve. This competition is so demanding and the mistakes we commit, I feel so bad for the players. We are going to start tomorrow from zero again.’
‘I have the feeling we are close. Every season when I analyse when we go out, I have the feeling we are close. At the same time, we make mistakes that make you feel we don’t deserve to go through. I don’t think it is mental. It is about desire and avoiding mistakes.’
‘Of course, if you are used to being in the latter stages, maybe it would be easier. Being here 10 times is good for us, but I know the reality of this club. The next step is making the semi-finals. The and things we have done are the past and now it is a new opportunity.’
‘ For the manager, it is easy to blame the mistakes. I have said from the first day I am responsible. I don’t blame the mistake. The players know what they need to do. The game against Spurs we conceded four goals and we are out.’
‘ It is exceptional. [Portuguese football] It is really exceptional. The quality they have, the amount of quality they have on the bench. I am lucky to enjoy the Portuguese squad. I was made with Portuguese players like Figo, Courto and Victor Baia at Barcelona.’
‘I have incredible memories of them. I’m Catalan, our lives are quite similar. They’re one of the favourites for the Euros and WC. Ronaldo’s one of the best players of all time and after that they have good midfielders and defenders. The Portuguese people should be proud.’
He touched on a lot in today's press conference. Two notes, One, it does seem he has learned from the Lyon debacle, that is good. Second, he knows how seriously he has to take the group stage and being no room for errors especially considering the amount of games is good for the club to stay sharp.
Thoughts on the game and/or Pep’s thoughts?