Since his arrival in England in late January, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has met Pep Guardiola’sManchester City twice, once in the FA Cup semi-final, once in the Premier League but both boasted the same outcome – a Chelsea victory.
Their semi-final date at Wembley ended a potentially historic Man City quadruple as Hakim Ziyech’s strike was enough to eliminate City, before the Moroccan international was a thorn in Guardiola’s side once again in the league meeting, notching the equaliser before Marcus Alonso’s last-gasp winner.
The pair will meet for a third time this Saturday in the biggest game in club football when the Estadio Dragao plays host to this year’s Champions League final, but Guardiola is confident their previous meetings will not be in his players minds come the big night.
Speaking to Rio Ferdinand for the former United defender’s YouTube channel, the Manchester City boss was asked whether the recent defeats will hand Tuchel’s side any kind of advantage, to which Guardiola said: “Absolutely nothing – zero.”
He continued, “I know how we prepare for this final and the reason why, we came just two days after qualifying through the Dortmund game and after the semi-finals, you know in that moment – well deserved, congratulations to Chelsea, but it’s a new game, we’ll face them Saturday and see what happens.”
The former Barcelona boss even posed the hypothetical situation of if the roles were reversed, claiming: “Even if we won these two games, my position would be the same right now because I know what the Champions League is, it’s one game, the season is over and everyone is sitting on the beach on their holidays thinking about next season except one game.
“The last nine years, I’ve seen them (the Champions League final) on TV, when I was on holiday so it’s just preparing for a game, one final, it’s completely different.”
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Guardiola did go on to praise the man who will be prowling the opposite dugout on Saturday night while discussing the impact Tuchel has had on Chelsea.
“I think it is massive (his impact), I sae the first game against Wolves, it was a draw but I saw some routines, some fundamentals , some processes that I remember when I faced him when he was in Mainz a little bit less but especially Borussia Dortmund when he arrived there.”
Saturday’s final presents Manchester City with the chance of lifting the Champions League for the first time in their history, but Guardiola claims there is no pressure on him from within the club to guide them to a European honour – just from external voices.
“Absolutely (the pressure was only from the outside), never the Chairman, never the CEO, the pressure I felt when I got here was simply to play the team the way I did before I took over. You took over to play in a certain way, you have to do it in this way.”