Pep Guardiola says the debate regarding the contrasting styles of his Manchester City side and Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid “is stupid”.
The reigning champions England and Spain will face each other at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final match.
While Atletico are famous for their organization and defensiveness in some ways, City are considered one of the best football teams in the world.
However, before facing Simeone for the fourth time in their managerial career, Guardiola has defended Argentina’s style of play.
“I will not speak for a moment about this stupid debate,” Guardiola said at Monday’s pre-match news conference.
“Everyone is trying to win the game, if they win you are right, if we win we are right. For players, the difference will be there. In fact, not for one moment.
“After watching Atletico there is a misunderstanding, wrong, about the way Simeone plays. It’s more annoying than what people believe.
“He doesn’t want to jeopardize the build but they are qualified in the last third. They know exactly how to play. In-game times, these situations are really good.”
Guardiola, who has won two of the last three meetings with Simeone, added: “What’s wrong?
“My team won 1-0 at Old Trafford and Bernardo Silva spent five minutes in the corner, that’s not bad. Defending the place.
“I came here to talk about what we are trying to do. I have never judged the enemies. What they are doing, we must do to win.”
City have won eight major home medals in Guardiola’s five full campaigns at the club, but have yet to lift the Champions League under the Catalan coach. Guardiola has been widely criticized for considering his team’s choices and joking that he will take a different approach in the first leg against Atletico.
“In the Champions League I always think too much,” he said. “There are new strategies every day you will see new ones, I think a lot which is why I have very good results.
“It would be boring if I always played the same way. If people think I play the same way with Atletico and Liverpool, I don’t like it.
“The movements are different, the players are different in different personalities, which is why I think over and over again and come up with clever strategies.
“Tonight I’m taking the inspiration and I’m going to do some amazing tricks tomorrow. We’re playing 12 tomorrow!”
With Guardiola and Simeone at odds, Tuesday’s game will be the first time City and Atletico have faced each other in the European Championships. Guardiola has won three of four meetings with Spanish clubs in the Champions League during his tenure with City, the last three.
City’s reward if it can do better for Atletti than two legs will be a semi-final against Real Madrid or Chelsea, which will be a repeat of last season’s final.
The Citizens also advanced to the FA Cup semi-finals and lead Liverpool by one point to the Premier League title before the two teams meet next Sunday. That match could go a long way in deciding which team wins the title, but Guardiola is focused on the Atletico game for now.
“If you don’t play these games you are out of the tournament,” he said. “It is a pleasure to be here every season, to come every April season, in May we will fight for titles and do well.
“But any bad results now and you’re out of the tournament. Everyone against you is tough at this stage. Every team has a certain style of play. You have to be flexible and adapt.”