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De Bruyne’s caution and Kompany’s confidence: Man City’s pursuit of Champions League glory

Manchester City and Inter Milan are set to battle it out for Champions League glory on Saturday.

After sealing another Premier League title and beating cross-city rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final, Pep Guardiola’s men are one win away from joining a select group of European teams to win a ‘treble.’

However, despite conquering the most competitive football league on the planet five times in the past six seasons, Man City have often failed to transfer their domestic success to the continental stage.

They’ve been craving Champions League glory for years, but apart from a 2020/21 final heartbreak against Chelsea, reaching the title-deciding fixture was often elusive for City.

Coming into their second European final under Guardiola, they are odds-on favourites to overcome Inter, but lifting the title, even with the odds firmly on their side, is not a foregone conclusion.

Kevin De Bruyne, who suffered a facial injury midway through the second half in City’s only previous appearance in the showpiece event, is adamant his teammates cannot afford to underestimate Inter.

“You don’t get to the final of the Champions League without being top,” the Belgian playmaker told the Independent.

“I think they won the (cup) double in Italy. They’ve been winning basically every game at the end of the season.

“They have their system, they have their style, they do what they do really, really well, and I don’t feel that anybody is going to think that it’s going to be an easy game against Inter.

“It’s a final, so it starts 50-50.”

De Bruyne’s words are not far from the truth.

No strangers to upsetting the odds, Inter rendered the bookmakers’ assessments meaningless by toppling Bayern Munich in the 2010 Champions League final.

While they’ve since turned into marginal European figures, Simone Inzaghi’s side have stunned the continent this season to set up their first appearance in the title decider in over a decade.

And they won’t show up in Istanbul only to roll over and let Man City climb to the podium without putting up a fight.

Inspired by Lutaro Martinez’s quick-fire first-half brace, the Nerazzurri came from behind to beat Fiorentina to the Coppa Italia title in the build-up to the Istanbul showpiece.

The Stadio Olimpico triumph maintained Inzaghi’s flawless managerial record in finals, issuing a warning to the Cityzens not to take the upcoming showdown lightly.

But Inter’s emphatic end to the 2022/23 Serie A campaign and their impressive showings in the Champions League have not scared former Man City captain Vincent Kompany.

The Burnley manager believes Saturday’s encounter in the Turkish capital will be ‘business as usual’ for Guardiola’s side, given their vast experience in domestic cup finals.

Kompany knows in-depth about Man City’s preparations for high-profile games and thinks they won’t be doing anything out of the ordinary to warm up for this contest.

During his trophy-laden career at the Etihad, he won 12 major titles, six of which came under Guardiola, so there’s no one more qualified to speak about the team’s routine ahead of season-defining matches.

In an interview with Gary Neville, the Belgian offered his view of City’s state of mind ahead of the most significant game in the club’s history.

“It’s a team that’s won so much – they’ll be as calm as you can imagine,” he said.

“They’ll do whatever they’ve done all season. They’ll go home, play with their kids, do some sessions and do some meetings about the opposition.

“They’ll go into the game like any other game, I think.

“That’s the advantage when you’ve played in a lot of cup finals, you learn that’s just another game.”

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