Men's Team

Bernardo: Pep is our map to Champions League glory

Bernardo: Pep is our map to Champions League glory
Bernardo Silva has paid tribute to the essential role of Pep Guardiola in City reaching our maiden Champions League final.

City enter uncharted waters on Saturday, with our clash against Chelsea ending a 51-year hiatus since our last European final.

But with Guardiola at the helm, a three-time winner as both a player and manager at FC Barcelona, Bernardo is confident that the team has everything needed to bring home the trophy.

The Portuguese midfielder also highlighted the impact that the boss has had on both the entire squad and his own individual game.

“Pep is our map. He has won the competition several times, both as a player and as a manager,” Bernardo declared.

“He knows the way to win. We just need to listen to him and try to do what he thinks is the best for the team to win the trophy.

“If we all pull together, we are one step closer to achieve the final goal.

“He has helped me to understand that there are different moments throughout the game, both when you attack or when you defend.

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“Sometimes you need to go up a gear, sometimes you need to calm the pace.

“He has helped me to understand the game better and what the game needs in every moment.

“He's an amazing manager. The intensity of his players, both with and without the ball, it's something remarkable that has helped me a lot on my growth as well.”

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The cutthroat nature of knockout football presents a unique challenge to the rigours of the domestic league, a fact which Pep Guardiola has regularly stressed across the season.

Bernardo agrees with his manager’s sentiments, believing that City have used previous near misses in the Champions League as an important learning experience this time around.

The Portuguese midfielder feels that the squad’s game management has improved immeasurably as a result, and hopes that our development will pay dividends on Saturday.

He said: “The Champions League is a very special competition, it's a different competition for any other one.

“When you play in the Premier League, at 38 games, the best team wins, the most consistent team wins.

“In the Champions League, you need other things as well.

“The experience in the competition is a key factor.

“That's why clubs like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern, when they reached the final stages, they know how to play these games.

“It takes time to gain that experience, you learn from the mistakes, you learn how to play these games.

“You need luck as well to win the Champions League, but I'd say the experience of having played more games in the competition helped us reaching the final.”

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Victory against Chelsea would represent the crowning glory in what has already been a hugely successful season for Pep Guardiola’s men.

But Bernardo insists the players have not let the occasion get the better of us in terms of preparing for the weekend on the training pitch.

He also believes that each and every member of the squad is pulling in the same direction to ensure we are in the best possible shape to claim the title.

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“Without a doubt [it's the most important week in the history of the club]," he admitted.

“It's the only trophy this club hasn't won yet and also that I haven't won yet.

“We are aware of that. We are trying to prepare the game the best way possible to win the game and bring the trophy to our fans.

“We need to play as usual, try to keep the ball and try to play as high as possible.

“We know we are facing a team that plays with five players in the back, they defend really well and they are very good at counter-attacks

“They are very strong in the set pieces too.

“The finals are usually defined in the details, so we need to be focused and ready, because they are a top team.”

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