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Pep Guardiola reveals what he uncovered from Thomas Tuchel and describes his Chelsea fear.

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Pep Guardiola reveals what he uncovered from Thomas Tuchel and describes his Chelsea fear.

Pep Guardiola reveals what he uncovered from Thomas Tuchel and describes his Chelsea fear.

City manager Pep Guardiola says Man City will not find it straightforward to stop Chelsea in the Champions League final because the off-the-ball movement when Thomas Tuchel’s side is in possession is “so clever” and well-coached.

The two Premier League heavyweights will go head to head in Porto on Saturday afternoon to battle it out for the biggest prize in European football. Chelsea have twice entered this stage in the past, suffering defeat in Moscow to Manchester United in 2008 and overcoming Bayern Munich on their own patch in 2012.

For Man City, this is unknown territory. Guardiola, though, has twice won the Champions League trophy as a coach. His expertise will be of crucial importance in Portugal.

However, since the assignment of Tuchel by Chelsea at the end of January, the Blues have registered back-to-back triumphs over Guardiola’s side. First in the FA Cup semi-final and then in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium.

As one of the most intelligent and most astute coaches in Europe, the City head coach will have uncovered a lot about Chelsea from those two losses. Yet he acknowledges stopping the Blues at the Dragao on Saturday will be far from easy.

“When they have the ball it’s difficult to control them because of their players so close,” Guardiola explained at his pre-match press conference this afternoon.

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“Their holding midfielders move perfectly with each other and, at the same time, they make the pitch so wide with wing-backs and so deep with the movement of [Timo] Werner.

“So they are difficult to control because they move perfectly with (Christian) Pulisic and (Mason) Mount in the pockets. Once these players get the ball, they are so direct. They are not players trying to pass the ball, their movement is so clever.

“I saw this morning their game against Aston Villa. They lost but they played good, controlled the game, the process they have they do really well. I couldn’t expect a tougher opponent. We know it.

“We’re going to face them knowing what we have to do to beat them. I’m more concerned about what we have to do with the ball.

“If our strategy with the ball is right – and the strategy from day one since we arrived – is with the ball. This is what we will work on the two or three days before the final on Saturday.”

Tuchel has previously revealed that Guardiola has had a huge impact on his career. The German used to religiously watch the Catalan’s Barcelona side and was fascinated by the high-energy, high-pressing, possession-dominating style played.

During Guardiola’s era in Germany, and while Tuchel was between his jobs at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, he sat down for dinner with Tuchel in Munich. And he remembers that it was an evening spent entirely talking about football.

“I was working at Bayern Munich and dinner was organised together in Munich together, Schumann’s bar,” Guardiola said.

“We talked football, football, football and football. That’s all. We talked about this and that, our feelings, our loves, the good and bad players at that moment.

“So football and football with interesting people means I learn a lot. I had good food and good wine, it was a nice moment to share. It’s a good memory.

“Since then we grew up and, of course, both of us have a good relationship. I respect him and he knows – and I know – that we want to win.”

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Pep Guardiola reveals what he uncovered from Thomas Tuchel and describes his Chelsea fear.

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