Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: Paul ELLIS / AFP 21:30 p.m., June 09, 2023A few hours before the kick-off of the final of the Champions League, the last instructions are given on the side of Manchester City and Inter Milan. Earlier in the week, Pep Guardiola said he did not want to make the Citizens the favorites of this meeting.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has urged his players not to underestimate Inter Milan in Saturday's Champions League final in Istanbul. "Of course we are confident and optimistic, but, at the same time, I cannot deny the qualities and strengths of the opposing team. I've never done it, especially in the Champions League final," Guardiola told City's pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
Guardiola's men are just one game away from becoming the second English team to win the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in the same season, a feat only achieved by Manchester United in 1998/99.
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Kyle Walker uncertain
After beating Bayern Munich in the quarters, then humiliating Real Madrid in the semis, the Manchester City players are the favorites of this final: they will face Inter Milan, third in Serie A and whose rise to the final, beating Porto, Benfica and AC Milan, proved easier. In their last 27 games, the Citizens have suffered only one defeat against Brentford on the final day of the Premier League at the end of May, when the title was long gone.
But the Catalan coach prefers to forget the recent past: "We know that what counts in the final is what you do for 95 minutes," he said, "it doesn't matter what has been achieved in the group stage, in the knockout stages or quarter-finals, in the Premier League or FA Cup. It's a unique game, it's about being better than the opponent." According to him, the preparation for this final, with Saturday's cup victory over the Red Devils, was much better than two years ago before the final in Porto, lost 1-0 to Chelsea.
Only point of concern: right-back Kyle Walker, who suffers from a back injury, was absent from training on Tuesday. "Yesterday it didn't go well, today it's a little better but we don't want to take any risks. We will advise in the coming days," Guardiola warned.