Pep Guardiola expressed confidence on Friday that Manchester City are prepared to put their previous Champions League final defeat behind them as they gear up to face Inter Milan in Istanbul on Saturday.
Guardiola faced criticism for his team selection in the 2021 final against Chelsea, which ended in a 1-0 loss for City. However, the manager affirmed that they have learned from their mistakes and are now ready for redemption.
Reflecting on the previous final, Guardiola stated, "I am pretty sure that two years ago what we planned, what we had in mind, was to have success against Chelsea. It didn't work, and that is why all the people said the decision was wrong. Tomorrow will be the same, have a plan, have an idea, and communicate it to the players. We are ready."
One of the major disappointments in the 2021 final was Kevin De Bruyne's early exit from the match due to a collision with Chelsea's Antonio Ruediger. De Bruyne expressed his determination to make amends, saying, "We were not good enough on the day, and you have to accept it. Luckily we have another chance, another opportunity to prove we can win this competition."
Manchester City enters the final as overwhelming favourites, following impressive victories against RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid in the knockout stages. The lethal goal-scoring form of Erling Haaland, who has netted 52 goals in all competitions since joining City, has been instrumental in their success this season.
However, Haaland has been in a goal drought lately, failing to score in his last four appearances. De Bruyne, who has been a key provider for Haaland, expressed his hope for the striker to regain his form against Inter, stating, "Sometimes you have a feeling with a player, you understand what he wants and he understands what I want or what I can do. It just clicked well, and he started scoring at an incredible rate. Hopefully, he can do what he needs to do tomorrow."
Despite their status as favourites, Manchester City anticipates a challenging encounter against Inter Milan, who have surpassed expectations by reaching their first Champions League final in 13 years.
De Bruyne acknowledged Inter's strong defensive capabilities, saying, "They defend incredibly well. We don't expect it to be an open game. That doesn't happen a lot in a final anyway."