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Pep Guardiola ‘could not care less’ about referee in Champions League final

Aston Villa v Manchester City – Premier League – Villa Park
(Image credit: Carl Recine)

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists he does not care that Spanish official Antonio Mateu Lahoz will referee the Champions League final.

Guardiola was sent off after confronting Lahoz during City’s decisive quarter-final second-leg defeat to Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium three years ago.

The City manager, who had been angered that a Leroy Sane goal was disallowed, later said Lahoz “is a special guy, he likes to be different, he likes to be special”.

Guardiola clashed with Lahoz in 2018

Guardiola clashed with Lahoz in 2018 (Nick Potts/PA)

Lahoz will now referee City again as he takes charge of Saturday’s clash against Chelsea in Porto.

Asked if the appointment bothered him, Guardiola said at a press conference: “No. Not (for) one second. I could not care less.

“I am so confident in my team. You cannot imagine how confident I am in my team and what we have to do.”

Guardiola is now turning his full attention to the final after City wrapped up their successful Premier League campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Everton on Sunday.

He is still to decide on his line-up but is confident whoever he picks will be ready to deliver.

“They are ready,” he said. “I know how good they are, all of them. I’m not going to change for one or two training sessions. They are going to convince me.

“I have known most of them for many years. I have an idea but still the starting XI is not done, not yet.”

City have lost twice to Chelsea in the past six weeks, including in the FA Cup semi-finals, but the London side’s form has since dipped.

Thomas Tuchel’s side will go into the game at the Estadio do Dragao after three defeats in their last four games.

Chelsea triumphed when they faced City at Wembley last month

Chelsea triumphed when they faced City at Wembley last month (Adam Davy/PA)

Guardiola does not feel either factor is relevant, saying: “It’s a different competition, new game.

“Chelsea create problems for all the teams. We have to deal with the problems as they create them. It is difficult to stop them for the quality they have.

“Congratulations on the two games they beat us but this is another competition, the final, and we will see what happens.”

City received the Premier League trophy after Sunday's victory over Everton

City received the Premier League trophy after Sunday’s victory over Everton (Dave Thompson/PA)

Guardiola also does not know what bearing his own side’s domestic run-in will have.

City’s last three Premier League games were played without pressure after the title was already secured.

“It will be an advantage if we win, a disadvantage if we lose,” Guardiola said. “I don’t know.

“The real preparation for the Champions League will be Wednesday and Thursday.”