The last step – Pep Guardiola tells Man City to take Club World Cup chance

By Sports Desk December 19, 2023

Pep Guardiola urged his Manchester City players to seize a potential “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity after reaching the Club World Cup final.

The Champions League winners set up a clash with Brazilian side Fluminense in Friday’s showpiece in Jeddah with a comfortable 3-0 win over Japanese outfit Urawa Red Diamonds on Tuesday.

City needed an own goal in first-half stoppage time to get their campaign up and running in Saudi Arabia, but strikes from Mateo Kovacic and Bernardo Silva after the break secured a straightforward victory.

City manager Guardiola told reporters at a press conference said: “We didn’t win it (before) – it’s the first time Manchester City are here.

“This is the last step – a title the club doesn’t have, so we’ll go for it.

“To play this final you have to have done incredible things – mainly to win the Champions League.

“Once we are here, maybe it is a trophy we play for once in a lifetime.

“It’s against Fluminense, a South American team, experienced, a lot of quality. I saw yesterday how good they are.

“But we are there. Tomorrow we will start to see Fluminense and try to do a good performance and win the title.”

City were without Erling Haaland for a fourth successive game due to a foot injury but were still far too strong for the Asian Champions League winners.

They had already created numerous chances before defender Marius Hoibraten turned into his own net to give City the lead.

Reds boss Maciej Skorza said: “They are the best team in the world in my opinion, but our plan didn’t work in the perfect way.

“We expected that possession would be huge in favour of Manchester City. We had our plan for counter-attacks, but this didn’t happen.

“Maybe this is the big difference in the physical aspect between the two teams and lack of experience of playing teams like City.”

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