Though we still have two games of the current Premier League campaign to conclude, starting with Tuesday’s trip to Watford, with second place in the table already assured the Club’s main focus is now trained on the Champions League.
In the wake of last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final loss to Arsenal, the meeting with the newly crowned Spanish champions at the Etihad on Friday, August 7 has taken on even greater significance.
City will entertain Zinedine Zidane’s side holding a crucial 2-1 advantage from our first leg encounter at the Bernabeu in February.
Guardiola admits locking horns with the 13-times European champions is a prospect that has already got his own competitive juices flowing.
And he says City will have a focused game plan honed in readiness for the match which will take place 12 days after the end of the Premier League season.
“We are incredibly excited and optimistic for the game we have against Madrid,” the City boss declared.
“We know if we play at a higher level than against Arsenal then we’ll have a chance and if not, we’ll be out.
“Against Madrid what we have to do is play a good game. In all the previous seasons, we played every game as one game and we did a good performance. We were not good enough (against Arsenal) it can happen and we move forward. It’s forgotten.
“We are going to play a specific way against Real Madrid. We are going to try and retain our rhythm in training, I don’t have doubts about that.
"We are going to see the games they have played after lockdown. They are not going to play with Ramos. They are going to play Militao and Varane.
“They are going to play Hazard, Vinicius or Modric or Asensio or Valverde on the right side. We are going to see the way they play, like the other games we prepare, with the advantage we have more time to prepare for specific things about them.
“We are going to see the way they play, like the other games we prepare, with the advantage we have more time to prepare for specific things about them.
“It’s a final. We have to prepare properly. We were off for three months due to coronavirus. We are going to train a lot. Sometimes we train on global concepts but now we'll train on specifics.”
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Vicarage Road, the boss also looked ahead to the challenges of next season as he prepares to embark upon his fifth season in charge at the Club.
Guardiola admitted the key for both himself personally and the squad collectively was to retain a freshness and hunger as we start the process of seeking to regain the Premier League title from Liverpool.
And he admitted that the arrival of potential new reinforcements in the summer transfer window would be key in helping to reinvigorate the squad.
“New players who will maybe come or maybe not will change the freshness of the team completely,” Guardiola continued.
“Everyone has to be fresh, not just one, or maybe two or maybe three or maybe 10 or maybe 20. Everyone one of us has to refresh our minds, our bodies, our fires to be competitive in all the competitions we have.
“If you bring in nine players - that's impossible - it changes the mentality, the freshness and quality. I think 80% 85% of the team will be the same. It will depend on who is here.
“I think that’s what we have done in the past four years (made small tweaks). We attack differently sometimes.
"For this to happen depends on the players we have next season. It depends on the quality of each one how we attack or how we defend.”
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