Pep Guardiola prepares to face Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side this Saturday and must prove that his Manchester City side have what it takes to beat the German, after failing on three occasions last season
Manchester City travel to Stamford Bridge this Saturday to face Chelsea, and Pep Guardiola will be hoping for a much better results against the Blues this time around.
Guardiola is yet to get the better of Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel in any competition since the German replaced Frank Lampard in January 2021, including the Champions League final where City lost 1-0 thanks to a Kai Havertz strike.
Chelsea defeated Guardiola’s side in the FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League last season, with Tuchel tactically outdoing one of the best managers in world football repeatedly.
However, Guardiola is now conscious of the German’s game-plan, and must prove that his side have improved from last year’s heartache.
Pool via REUTERS)
City fell at the final hurdle against Chelsea to narrowly miss out on long-awaited Champions League success, but it was the second time that Tuchel’s side had knocked them out of a competition that season by a 1-0 scoreline, adopting very similar tactics on both occasions.
Ahead of Saturday’s game, Guardiola commented on the final and said: “We play a great final. We lost but played a great final. We missed a bit to be more precise in the last part of the game, we lost the second balls because the transitions are so good.
“They regain the ball and they regain again and make a quick transition. They structure defensively so good, the physicality, the movement, the quality in the short spaces. They control all departments which is why it was difficult in the final of the Champions League against an exceptional team.
“I had the feeling in the game and when I saw it, my impression is we played with a lot of courage with personality but unfortunately we could not do it with the counter attacks, long balls, second balls were not good enough and they beat us.”
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Guardiola cannot afford to allow Tuchel to get the better of him once more, and City will be desperate to bounce back after being held to a goalless draw against Southampton at the Etihad Stadium last weekend.
Due to the instant impact that Tuchel had when taking charge of Chelsea, some have suggested that the German has de-throned Guardiola as the Premier League’s best manager, but he dismissed these claims and ensured that there is no rivalry between the pair.
“I have the highest respect for Pep,” Tuchel said, and when pressed whether he was a better coach that Guardiola, the German replied: “This question does not even exist for me and I can’t answer it. It’s a question for you guys and you can endlessly debate.
“I am a huge admirer for the impact he had from his first day of his professional coaching – the impact at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. He has my biggest respect.
“There is no reason to ask myself if I am a better coach. I do the best I can, I am in a place I am very happy, and I am a better coach today than yesterday.”
Despite the dismissed rivalry, Tuchel will want to extend his impressive record against Guardiola, but the City boss has to prove that he is no walkover, and end the recent drought against Chelsea.