Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has sent a defiant message to his players ahead of Saturday afternoon’s clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The reigning Premier League champions take on one of this season’s title hopefuls in what should be a hugely entertaining match in west London.
The first came in the FA Cup semi-final in April, where Hakim Ziyech‘s goal was enough for the Blues to seal victory and book a place in the final.
Then, less than a month later, Chelsea came from a goal down to beat City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium, with Marcos Alonso scoring a late goal in Manchester, before the biggest of them all arrives.
The two Premier League powerhouses went head-to-head in May in the Champions League final, where Kai Havertz‘s goal was enough for Chelsea to secure the prestigious European crown.
Guardiola, when referencing some of City’s recent results against Chelsea, was asked what he will tell his players ahead of Saturday afternoon’s meeting.
“We prepare the game like we prepare Southampton before and the previous games, try to read what they are and what we have done in recent games against Chelsea and Tuchel,” Guardiola said in his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon.
“Every game is a new challenge to improve and learn and be better. A final is completely different, the previous games like in the FA Cup was a final and was a tight game, we lost.
“In the Premier League it was already done, we were already nearly champions.
“The Champions League was a massive game. We try to learn, now it’s a new competition and we learn for these games.
“It’s one more game for the Premier League. Prepare the game from the strong points we have and improve what we have to be better.
“The mindset we had the last days to prepare this game will be the same against PSG and Liverpool before the international break.”
Meanwhile, for Man City, Rodri, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones, who have all been sidelined recently through injuries, will be monitored after returning to training in the week.
A win for Chelsea would keep them at the top of the Premier League table and would move them three points above Liverpool and Manchester United, who play later in the weekend.