Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva hails ‘amazing manager’ Pep Guardiola

Bernardo Silva puts Manchester City’s run to the Champions League final down to greater experience, a bit of luck – and an “amazing” manager.

City will face Chelsea in Porto on Saturday after putting aside years of frustration and under-achievement to reach the final for the first time.

Their guide through this journey has been their inspirational boss Pep Guardiola, who won the Champions League as a player with Barcelona and later guided the club to two more successes as manager.

Guardiola has been described as City's
Guardiola has been described as City’s “map” by Silva (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Portuguese midfielder Silva said: “Pep is our map. He has won the competition several times, both as a player and as a manager. He knows the way to win.

“We just need to listen to him and try to do what he thinks is the best for the team to win the trophy.

“He has helped me to understand that there are different moments throughout the game, both when you attack or when you defend. Sometimes you need to go up a gear, sometimes you need to calm the pace.

“He has helped me to understand the game better and what the game needs in every moment. He’s an amazing manager.”

City came of age in Europe with their victories over Dortmund and PSG
City came of age in Europe with their victories over Dortmund and PSG (PA Wire via DPA)

City showed a maturity unseen in previous seasons as they clinically disposed of Borussia Dortmund and Paris St Germain in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.

Silva said: “The Champions League is a very special competition, it’s a different competition from any other.

“When you play in the Premier League, at 38 games, the best team wins, the most consistent team wins.

“In the Champions League, you need other things as well. The experience is a key factor.

“That’s why clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, when they reached the final stages, they knew how to play these games.

“It takes time to gain that experience, you learn from the mistakes, you learn how to play these games.”

Silva, however, does accept City may have had the rub of the green along the way.

“You need luck and also you need to be effective when it comes to the crunch,” the 26-year-old said.

“Against Dortmund in the second leg, we were out of the competition, but the penalty put us back in the game.

“Against PSG, we were behind on the scoreboard and we managed to score two goals in 15 minutes with a bit of luck as well.

“You need to be strong and at your best version but, of course, you need a bit of luck in the key moments.”

Silva is relishing the prospect of playing a Champions League final in his home country
Silva is relishing the prospect of playing a Champions League final in his home country (Peter Powell/PA)

Silva also has an extra source of motivation after the final was moved from Istanbul to Portugal due to Covid restrictions.

“A Champions League final is a special game for me because I have never played one before,” said Silva, who reached the semi-finals with Monaco in 2017.

“On top of that, being played in Portugal is even more special for me. It would be a great honour to lift the trophy in my country.”