Manchester City are set for the ‘stressful’ European Super Cup clash with Sevilla as defender Nathan Ake insists they will do everything they can to win the trophy for the first time.
Manchester City anticipate more “stress” as they try to make history in their first European Super Cup this week.
The treble winners travel to Athens to take on Europa League champions Sevilla on Wednesday, mindful that one-off games are rarely easy, having beaten Manchester United and Inter Milan by a single goal to secure the FA Cup and the Champions League.
Defender Nathan Ake, part of the City team that opened their Premier League title defense with a 3-0 win at Burnley on Friday night, said: “Finals are always tough.” It’s never like a normal game. We noticed it in the FA Cup final, the Champions League final.
“They can become more stressful because of the prize on offer. From Monday we will see clips and we will see how we can hurt Sevilla. We played last season, but this is a new season, so things will be different.
The club has never won this trophy and now we are in a position to do so. We want to win it for sure. Bring it to the club and to us too.
Manchester City defender Nathan Ake says they will do everything they can to win the European Super Cup
Pep Guardiola’s City beat Inter Milan and won the Champions League for the first time
Although the European Super Cup is not considered one of the most important trophies in itself, the annual clash between the two top European champions is considered prestigious on the continent and takes City into new territory having never won the Champions League before. .
What is remarkable is how Guardiola’s City has changed 180 degrees since he first arrived in 2016.
Back then, there was a suspicion among detractors that he was a one-trick tiki-taka pony.
You now have six top-tier central defenders to choose from and other strong physical forces like Erling Haaland and Rodri. Rarely can a team intimidate City now.
Ake spent most of last season at left-back, but moved to midfield, his natural position, at Turf Moor to cover injuries to John Stones and Ruben Dias.
“We keep rotating in training so it’s not something new or something I’ve missed,” he said.
‘Form and pace come week by week at the start of the season. Even at Burnley, we weren’t at our best, we were a bit careless with the ball. But winning 3-0 against tough opponents is a perfect start.
“For me personally, starting the Champions League final gave me a huge boost after having suffered a frustrating injury just before. For the manager, keeping faith in such an important game meant the world to me.”
Sevilla beat Roma and won the Europa League again and now they face City in Athens
Ake (left) celebrates with Erling Haaland after the Norwegian opened the scoring at Burnley
The masterpiece in Greece is another opportunity for Haaland to show why he is considered a Ballon d’Or candidate.
He scored two fantastic goals at Burnley, essentially with his first two touches, to follow up on his record 52 goals last season.
That’s Erling! Ake said. ‘The finishes were very good, it’s incredible to see. Many times he was also one on one and seeing his strength and how we can use him is perfect for this team. We are very happy to have it.
‘Every time he surprises us with the goals he scores and the important ones too. He has this drive to do that for sure (exceed 52 goals)’.
The reigning champions remain the team to beat and victory over Sevilla, captained by former City player Jesús Navas, would bring a fourth title of 2023.
One blow is the absence of midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who suffered a recurrence of a hamstring strain against Burnley and could be out for a few weeks.