Pep Guardiola has revealed that some Champions League final places have already been decided, as he challenged his Manchester City players to continue showing him they have the mentality to play in the club’s biggest-ever game.
With one final Premier League clash to prepare for, against Everton on Sunday, Guardiola admitted the last two games – a 4-3 win against Newcastle and 3-2 defeat to Brighton – have been difficult to focus on with the final with Chelsea looming.
But he says the difficult moments in those games will help City arrive at the final in the best possible mindset, as he revealed that some big decisions for the final have already been made.
Asked when he would tell his squad of his final starting XI, Guardiola said: “It depends on my feelings, sometimes I give it the day, one hour and a half before the final. Sometimes two days ago. It depends.
“Now I don’t know what I do. Sometimes I give it two days in advance, sometimes the day of the game. I don’t know.
“I have already decided many things in the last days, I have a few doubts, but in the same times in the Champions League you have to do all around the world five or six substitutions. They know everybody will be part of this.
“We arrive to the final, to the last battle, I will choose the guys. I’m sure we arrive here all together. The way we play this season we are all together.
“Now in this final battle, this specific game, for the way the opponent plays and way we want to play, I need the specific players. I choose the specific qualities and mentality of the players to play this game.”
Pressed on whether having already won the Premier League and Carabao Cup in good time will serve as an advantage to his side, Guardiola said such achievements are irrelevant in a Champions League final.
“When you arrive the final of the Champions League it’s an incredible success,” he said.
“It helps to win the Premier League and of course the Carabao, but it will be a good season when you arrive at the end the semi-finals of the FA Cup, final of the Carabao Cup, Premier League. It’s nice. Of course it’s not enough right now.
“I have an incredibly good feeling we’ll do well and we’ll play a good game in the final, tomorrow is a good preparation for that. It’s tough these last three games when we’ve already qualified for the Champions League and win the Premier League to still focus in this competition.
“The games at Newcastle and Brighton help all of us to realise how difficult it is to win the Premier League, how tough it is. I love to live these defeats to realise what we have done, winning 24, 25, 26 games in a row in all competitions is amazing.
“I had a feeling we’ll arrive in the correct time to be competitors, enjoy the moment, the privilege and honour to be there.
“Incredible satisfied to be the first team in the more than century of this club to be there. It’s an honour, we’ll try to enjoy and be as much competitors as possible to win the title.”