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Di Matteo insists Guardiola ‘fears’ Italians ahead of Champions League final versus Inter

Former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo believes Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola harbours apprehension regarding facing Italian clubs. 

This sentiment arises as the Premier League and FA Cup champions gear up to take on Inter Milan in the Champions League final on Saturday, seeking one last piece of a ‘Treble‘ puzzle.

Man City are the clear-cut favourites for the upcoming showdown in Istanbul. The convincing manner in which they ousted Real Madrid in the semi-finals further solidifies that perception. 

However, Di Matteo contends that Guardiola carries a degree of unease when confronted with Italian opponents due to their well-documented ability to pose significant challenges.

Recalling the time when he led Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2012, he drew a comparison between his Blues side and Inter, insisting Man City will have to roll up their sleeves to earn the title.

“Motivation makes the difference, and we had it,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“We were not fully fit but convinced we could make it. Inter have the same spirit, they don’t look like a scared team.

“Guardiola is more than a coach – he is a visionary, but he knows how competitive Italians are and fears us.”

Di Matteo may have a point

If anyone knows anything about upsetting the odds, it’s Di Matteo.

He defeated Guardiola’s mercurial Barcelona side in the 2011/12 Champions League semi-finals before overcoming Bayern Munich in the final despite being considered a massive underdog in both games.

Only two years before his Chelsea team stunned Europe, Jose Mourinho’s Inter did a similar thing, beating non-other than Barcelona and Bayern en route to lifting the title. 

As was the case 13 years ago, the Nerazzurri must find a way to succeed in the face of adversity, with the odds firmly backing Man City to complete their quest for the Champions League title. 

But after narrowly missing out on continental glory in 2020/21, Guardiola, one of the finest strategists in football history, must have learnt his lesson. 

Luckily, we won’t need to wait long to see whether Di Matteo was right.

How to watch?

Make sure to find live Champions League streams here to avoid missing out on the most significant event on the European football schedule. 

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