Speaking in Sweden ahead of tomorrow night’s first game in the Europa League knockout stage, Pedro reflected on losing 6-0 on Sunday, and spoke of his preference for the way Maurizio Sarri wants his side to play.
The Spaniard admitted he had not been defeated by such a scoreline before but highlighted that when the start of a game is bad against the type of quality there is at the top of the Premier League, it is hard to recover.
‘It is not a problem with the mentality and motivation,’ Pedro said, ‘but it is true in the last game against this type of team, if you are not focused from the first minute it is so difficult. They score a lot of goals and if in the first minutes they score it is difficult to come back, but it is important for us to recover our best feeling and tomorrow’s game is a new competition and this is a good opportunity to win and get confidence.
‘All the team follow the idea of Maurizio,’ he added. ‘It is simple, it is to press really high and stay compact and create a chance. Maintain a lot of the ball with good possession and create chances.
‘As a team we are ready, we can do this, but sometimes it is difficult to play in this way and it depends on the team. When Man City play very well it is difficult to press because they have very good players in playing the ball and creating in between the lines, it is difficult to defend. But it is the idea of Maurizio and it is good.
‘I prefer to press high and to stay close to the target when we recover the ball to create chances, rather than wait 90 minutes to recover the ball and to run 60 metres to score the goal. But in the last games we have not been in very good form, very good condition for the result, but now it is a good opportunity to win and get our best confidence.’
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The 31-year-old acknowledged that the Europa League has to be taken seriously, not only because it is a route to possible silverware at the end of the season but also because of the additional reward that comes with that.
‘It is another option to enter into the Champions League and we know this very well,’ he confirmed. ‘This is an opportunity to continue in this competition and also if you go to the final and win, it is good.’