Chelsea: Marker 'laid down' ahead of Champions League final
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Fernandinho has warned Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel that they will be up against the best Manchester City side in history when the Blues take to the pitch for Saturday’s Champions League final. The west London outfit booked their place in the tie by overcoming Real Madrid over two legs in the semi-finals and will be aiming to seal their second European triumph with victory over the newly-crowned Premier League champions.
Meanwhile, City are chasing their first title in order to complete a remarkable treble after winning the league and clinching the Carabao Cup for a fourth successive year.
Pep Guardiola’s side have struggled to make their mark on the Champions League in previous seasons, but will be the hot favourites going into Saturday’s final in Porto.
They failed to beat Chelsea when the two clubs met in the Premier League earlier this month, with Marcos Alonso popping up with a last-gasp winner to bring all three points back to the capital.
However, Fernandinho has revealed that his side are more than ready for the challenge ahead after hitting new heights since the turn of the year.
The Brazilian midfielder told City’s official website that although Chelsea will provide a stern test, he is confident of a positive result as the Manchester club look to cap off their impressive season in style.
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“There was still that stigma of the fact that the team had never made it to the final before, that we were an inexperienced team in this competition,” said Fernandinho.
“But I think this season our team has managed to reach a high standard, both on a technical level and in terms of experience, and several other factors as well.
“Over the course of the season, we’ve overcome many difficulties, and now we’ve reached a standard which is perhaps one of the highest this team has ever managed to reach.
“It’s a really happy moment, a huge honour, and there’s no doubt that it makes you even more motivated.
“We’ve always got to give 100 per cent, 100 per cent of the time, and I think in a game like this anything less than 200 per cent won’t be enough to win it.”
City are yet to lose a Champions League match this season, winning 11 and drawing just one of their previous outings in the competition.
Despite this, Chelsea have beaten Guardiola’s side on two occasions since Tuchel took charge at Stamford Bridge in January, and the German boss believes that his team have every chance of sealing a third victory on the biggest stage of them all.
“It’s always so, so tough to play against [Guardiola’s] teams,” the 47-year-old told UEFA.com earlier this week.
“I played against his [Bayern] team, and now against his Man City team. I watched his Barcelona team to learn from him and his team about football, how you can defend, how you can attack, [for] years and years.
“He built winning machines, and this is what he [has done] now, here in England. I don’t hesitate to say that Man City and Bayern [have been] the benchmark in Europe this season and last season.
“We are trying to close the gap and the good thing is, in football, you can close gaps in 90 minutes. That is absolutely possible, and that’s what we are [aiming to do] in the final.”
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