Manchester City has learned the lessons from previous Champions League failures, and the new defensive fixture was the key to their journey to the finals, midfielder Ilkay Gundogan said ahead of the clash with Chelsea on Saturday.
Manchester City surprise defeat in the quarter-finals of last season at the Olympique Lyonnais was a defeat that started their camp hunt, and Ilkay Gundogan said it took time to recover.
“Personally, it took me a while to be honest, because it was a big disappointment and to lose the game for what we couldn’t expect, we felt great, we felt confident and obviously when you feel that you have lost it then, you are frustrated, you are depressed, you may be a little upset,” he said.
The 3–1 defeat in a one-legged game in Lisbon was the latest in a Champions League series in which City’s defense disappointed them, but Gundogan said this year’s team was too strict in the back.
“Some important things have changed this year, I remember first, I scored three goals at home against Monaco, the same against Tottenham and then Lyon.”
“This year we are so stable in the back, which has helped us earn even more. We are strong, stable, it is very important in big moments in big games. Protect yourself well, don’t give up, that’s a big advantage,” Ilkay added.
But Gundogan, who was in the 2013 Champions League final losing side despite scoring a penalty for Borussia Dortmund in a 2–1 loss to Bayern Munich at Wembley, says Chelsea have learned similar lessons from Thomas Tuchel.
“They seem very stable in the back, they concede some goals, maybe on Saturday it’s about who is able to do better with a team that will defend themselves at a higher level,” he continued. But the midfielder does not expect major changes in Guardiola’s outlook.
“Everything works so well during the season, I think we have the right mobility in the group. Everything is quite ready. So, I think we are ready for it. It is a matter of repeating what we did”.
“It is a final, everyone is facing different pressures to play that big game. What I am trying to do is to keep the levels as high as possible, try to make everyone work 100% in each training session, not giving up 1% of the,” he concluded.
Manchester City will play against Chelsea on 29th May for the UEFA Champions League final in Porto, earlier the match was scheduled to take place in Istanbul.