It’s just like watching Brazil for Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola

By Sports Desk December 21, 2023

Pep Guardiola will draw on his childhood memories of watching Brazil as he aims to secure Club World Cup glory for Manchester City.

City face the Brazilian winners of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s equivalent of the Champions League, in Saudi Arabia on Friday for the global title.

Manager Guardiola admits City have not faced the like of Fluminense before but is familiar with their style having grown up watching and admiring some of the great Brazil sides.

The Spaniard told reporters at a press conference: “We have to be resilient because of the way they play – they will demand a lot of effort – and try to be aware and precise with the ball.

“The way they play, we’ve never faced, never. We will have to impose our rhythm and our positional game as best as possible and do a good performance, because we know without a good performance and being resilient in the bad moments it will be so difficult to win the final.

“They play a typical Brazil style from the 70s, 80s, early 90s – until 1994, when they won the World Cup in the United States.

“I love it. I love the build-up. I love how they associate between each other, the respect (they have) all of the time for the ball.

“I know perfectly the team we are going to play and I have huge respect for the essence of Brazilian football.

“When I was a little boy, not even a teenager, I listened to my dad or my people (talk about) the way that Brazil had success with all previous generations. I saw it for many, many years.”

Champions League winners City secured their place in this week’s showpiece at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City with a comfortable 3-0 win over Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds on Tuesday.

Erling Haaland will again be missing and has now officially been pulled out of City’s squad for the tournament after missing their last four competitive games with a foot injury.

Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku, who were both training with the squad as they step up their returns to fitness, will also not feature but City remain firm favourites.

Guardiola said: “The players, of course, are ready. They know how important it is and what a pleasure it is to be here.”

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