Monday, January 24, 2022

Guardiola hails ´fantastic´ Olmo while discussing RB Leipzig philosophy

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Dec 2021

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola labelled Dani Olmo a “fantastic player” ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League meeting with RB Leipzig.

City have breezed through Group A as they prepare to head to Leipzig, having previously gone 14 games unbeaten against German opposition in the competition.

The Bundesliga outfit can only make the Europa League after a disappointing group-stage showing, are still without a home win in Europe this term and parted ways with head coach Jesse Marsch on Sunday amid a poor run of form.

Guardiola, though, heaped praise on Leipzig as he hailed Olmo as a standout star, although he dismissed any speculation of a reported move for the Spain international.

Asked about a potential transfer for forward Olmo, Guardiola responded: “[The] answer is no. He is a Leipzig player.

“If we are interested, I’m sure City will contact Leipzig. Saying that, he is a fantastic, fantastic player.

“I’m happy he had the courage to leave Barcelona to develop his skills and then arrive at Leipzig.”

Olmo caught the headlines at Euro 2020 as he became just the third player – after Cesc Fabregas (2008) and Dejan Kulusevski (2021) – to assist two goals after being substituted on at the European Championship.

But the former Barcelona man has made only three starts this season across all competitions, assisting just one goal, and he is yet to find the net after struggling with a muscle injury.

Leipzig have felt the absence of one of their key players and are down in 11th in the Bundesliga, 16 points behind reigning champions Bayern Munich at the top.

While speculation persists over who will succeed Marsch, Guardiola took the opportunity to praise the environment that has been developed at Leipzig.

“Leipzig has a culture, they won’t sign a manager who doesn’t want to play their way,” he added. “They want to play a specific way, pressing, gegenpressing, attacking, live, sleep, eat. 

“This is the culture, and the new manager will be similar like that. The impact of a new manager is clear, players open their eyes and play for the Europa League, an incredible competition, the money from UEFA. 

“We won at home, it was difficult, what they did in Bruges [a 5-0 win over Club Brugge]. There are highs and lows this season but the philosophy, the way they play versus Paris Saint-Germain, they should win 2-0,3-0. 

“They play their style. We have to be careful, impose our game. Play to improve. We don’t play for the points, we play to improve. It’s a perfect training game for us. We go to Leipzig [and then] do a good dinner tonight to celebrate our qualification.”

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