Bernardo Silva says Pep Guardiola’s ‘formidable’ experience played a key role in Manchester City’s run to their first Champions League final.
City will face Chelsea in Saturday’s Porto final after years of Champions League grief.
City boss Guardiola won the Champions League as a player with Barcelona and guided the Spanish club to a pair of triumphs as a coach in 2009 and 2011.
It has not been easy for Guardiola to replicate that success and he failed to win the Champions League during his three years at Bayern Munich before a painful series of round of 16 defeats with City since joining in 2016. .
Guardiola and his team have finally overcome the bump this year.
Portuguese playmaker Silva believes the manager’s vast knowledge of the competition meant City were destined to be successful in the end.
“Pep is our card. He has won the competition on several occasions, both as a player and as a coach. He knows how to win, ”said Silva.
“We just have to listen to him and try to do what he thinks is best for the team to take the trophy.
“He helped me understand that there are different times throughout the game, both when you are attacking and when you are defending. Sometimes you have to step up a gear, sometimes you have to calm down.
“He helped me better understand the game and what the game needs at all times. He’s a great manager. “
City have shown unprecedented maturity in previous seasons by eliminating Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals and last year’s finalists Paris Saint Germain in the semi-finals.
If they beat Chelsea, City will have achieved a memorable treble after winning the Premier League title and winning the League Cup earlier this season.
But it is the success in Europe that has been the holy grail of Guardiola and the owners based in Abu Dhabi.
“The Champions League is a very special competition, it is a competition unlike any other,” said Silva.
“When you play in the Premier League, at 38 games, the best team wins, the most consistent team wins.
“In the Champions League you also need other things. Experience is a key factor.
“That’s why clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, when they reached the finals, were able to play these matches.
“It takes time to gain that experience, you learn from mistakes, you learn to play these games. “
Silva has added motivation in the final after being transferred from Istanbul to his native Portugal due to coronavirus restrictions.
“A Champions League final is a special game for me because I’ve never played one before,” said Silva.
“On top of that, playing in Portugal is even more special for me. It would be a great honor to lift the trophy in my country. “
© 2021 AFP