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Pep Guardiola on Manchester City vs Chelsea and his guiding principles

"Football is not just tactics; it’s emotions and relations between the lads," the Manchester City boss tells UEFA.com.

Josep Guardiola looks around the stadium in Porto
Josep Guardiola looks around the stadium in Porto UEFA via Getty Images

Josep Guardiola has won three of the four UEFA Champions League finals he has been involved in as a player and coach, and as his Manchester City side take on Chelsea, is looking to underline his place in football history by becoming one of the tiny band of coaches to have won Europe's top competition with two teams.

Ahead of the decider in Porto, the 50-year-old tells UEFA.com how he defied expectations to bring his free-flowing style to England, and how his time at Barcelona continues to inform his principles.

On his friendship with Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel

Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel like to talk football
Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel like to talk footballChelsea FC via Getty Images

With football, one of the nicest things is talking about it. There's watching and training and, after that, there’s talk. I would say I learn a lot from Thomas; I learned a lot watching his teams, with our conversations. It doesn’t matter if he has a lot of info about us or about me because, in the end, luckily for world football, he cannot play, I cannot play. So, in the end, the guys who are going to decide the final will be the players.

I have a lot of respect [for him]; I think he is an exceptional, exceptional manager. And that’s all. So of course I want to beat him, like I guess he wants to beat me.

On his guiding principles at City

"Strong organisation, a lot of investment, a lot of quality players, good fans, good backroom staff, a team with the principles to [be successful]: these are the most important ones. But you always have to take a look at the players that you have because if the players don’t adjust or adapt to the principles or the way you want to play, it’s more difficult.

"Some things come from where I was born: Barcelona. You know, trying to have a living role in the game, playing [in the opponents' half], and trying to win the game. There are no more secrets than that. It’s [about] the quality of the players, trying to understand their skills, creating a good environment and a good mood, because football is not just tactics; it’s emotions and relations between the lads and even with the backroom staff. This is the most important thing for a team to last for a long time, which has happened here for five years."

On his proudest City achievement

"Titles are the consequence of many, many things. The most important thing is that, always, I am a spectator, not just a manager, and, when I am sitting on the bench, I want to see the team play the way we like. People, a long time ago, said: ‘It’s not possible to play in this way in this country.’ We did it. It’s our way, we decided to do it from day one, and we accomplished it.

Manchester City: On The Spot
Manchester City: On The Spot

"We’ve won a lot of Premier Leagues in this short time and, finally we achieved the next step in Europe at this club, and hopefully, we [will not] tremble, and we can be sure we can do well in the final. I don’t think we are much, much, much better than the previous season when we were not able to [get to the final]. Maybe the desire was higher because we thought ‘OK, this time, let’s go, try again, try again, try again.’ At the end, the coin, [landed on] our side."

On Phil Foden

"[Phil Foden is] the type of player [who], [the more] pressure [there is], [the bigger] the environment [is], the better the performance will be. When you are 20 years old it’s different to when you are 28, but now his priority in life is just one: to play football. The rest, he doesn’t care. He forgets mistakes immediately. He can do ten things very badly and then, for the 11th, he’s going to take the risk and he’s going to do well. That’s why at this age, he’s able to play in this team."

On his Barcelona side beating Manchester United 3-1 in the 2011 final

Guardiola's Champions League triumphs
Guardiola's Champions League triumphs

"We got to the Wembley final and said: ‘We’re going to win.’ With the way we played in the first half and the first 20 minutes of the second half, we could not do better. That was as high as we could go as a team and that was the moment when I started thinking the period at Barcelona was over.

"It’s not possible [to think that way] here, in Manchester [City], because it’s the first time. We are not among the elite in Europe. We’re not playing with this relaxed situation or calm situation, but you have to play with this tension that we have, this pressure that we have; we have to be used to playing in this way, and I’m pretty sure that we’re going to have a good game."