Manager Pep Guardiola stated that Manchester City, who are attempting to win their first Club World Cup, have been watching video of their Brazilian opponent Fluminense because they are not aware with their playing philosophy.
The fact that City will be without Premier League-leading attacker Erling Haaland, who travelled to Saudi Arabia despite missing City’s previous four games due to a bothersome foot issue, will make the task even more difficult.
Haaland was injured during City’s 3-0 victory over Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan in the semi-final on Tuesday, and even though he was able to participate, his absence disqualifies him from the competition for the remainder of it.
“We try in the hours after (our last) game to see Fluminense as much as possible, looking at the quality they have,” Guardiola told reporters on Thursday in Jeddah.
“They have five, six or seven players more than 30-years-old so that means they can control their emotions perfectly.
“They play a typical Brazilian style from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s.
“Lots of short passes, combining really good, but also physically demanding.
“We have to be aware how much they run behind the ball, and be resilient in (handling) that.
“The way they play demands a lot of effort (from us). The way they play we have never faced before. They move a lot from side to side, so we have to impose our own rhythm and possession game as much as possible.”
Despite their recent struggles—they have only won one of their last six Premier League games, dropping them to fourth in the standings—City is still the favourite to win what would be their fifth trophy in as many years on Friday.
Guardiola stated that controlling their emotions will be essential to winning.
“How do you play a Club World Cup final without emotion?” Guardiola said.
“Emotion is there, it’s how you handle it. It’s there. It’s how long it stays in your mind.
“That’s the big target in finals.”
The players have been made to understand by Guardiola that winning the Cup is a “once-in-a-lifetime” chance.
“The players are ready and know how important it is. As I have said before, what a pleasure it is to be here,” said the Spaniard, adding the team enjoyed a rare dinner together on Wednesday evening.
Kyle Walker, a defender for City, stated that winning on Friday would be a fantastic way to wrap up an incredible 12-month period in which they had won the FA Cup, Champions League, Premier League, and UEFA Super Cup.
“I have experienced a lot of career highs, (but) it would top off what we did last season winning the treble as a group of lads that have spent a lot of years together working towards the right direction,” the 33-year-old said.
“It would be on par with one of my greatest achievements.”