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UCL final: Guardiola, Man City under pressure in clash of styles — Amuneke

FORMER Super Eagles winger Emmanuel Amuneke has suggested that most of the pressure during tonight’s UEFA Champions League final in Istanbul, Turkey will be on Pep Guardiola and Manchester City as they face Inter Milan.

The Premier League champions and FA Cup winners are in the hunt for the treble and are huge favourites to beat the Italians in club football’s biggest final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium.

“Man City not winning would be disappointing for Guardiola and the team because everybody expects them to win,” former Sporting Lisbon and Barcelona star Amuneke told the ‘Loving Football’ show on Radio Now 95.3 FM Lagos as he previewed the final.

“We should take it back to the 2021 final when they played against Chelsea. It was the same scenario as everybody expected City to win, but they lost.”

Amuneke, who played in the same Barcelona side as Guardiola between 1996 and 2000, expects the final to be an entertaining clash of styles.

“I think it’s going to be a great game. Why am I saying this? When we look at the style and the way Man City play and then  look at the way Inter play also,  you’ll find that both teams have different styles,” the 52-year-old former head coach of Nigeria U-17s noted.

“But what may be so special is that when we look at the semi-finals against  Real Madrid, in the first leg, City went into the game a little bit conservatively.

“They didn’t want what happened to them the previous year to occur again  where they opened up and conceded a lot of goals.  So they were very careful, having it in mind that if they could get a draw in Madrid and then take the game to Manchester they had the chance of winning.  And that is exactly what they did.

“This is going to be a different game in terms of you know in the final one mistake can easily condemn you.”

“On paper, I think Man City are the dominant  side, you know they have the capacity to win the game and everybody expects them to win the game. One thing I’ve observed about Man City recently is they keep modifying their style of playing and keep changing the system.”

Amuneke, who coached the Golden Eaglets to win the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2015 with Victor Osimhen as the attacking arrowhead, was asked how he would go about the final if he were the Inter Milan manager.

He replied: “Psychologically they know how City play. You don’t want to go toe-to-toe with City because you will likely lose.

“What Inter should do is make sure they defend very well and have patience. They should make sure that all the possible spaces City can exploit are closed and they play on the counter-attack.”

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