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Thursday 14 December 2017

Pep Guardiola: I have never had more power as a manager

Pep Guardiola has the power to shape Manchester City's future
Pep Guardiola has the power to shape Manchester City's future

Pep Guardiola claims he has been given more power than ever before in his career as he seeks to shape Manchester City's future.

Guardiola's first season in charge at City looks set to end in under-achievement after Champions League elimination at the last-16 stage and a failure to mount a sustained Premier League title challenge.

Wednesday's unexpected defeat at Monaco in the European competition has sparked rumours of a summer squad clear-out at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola denies wholesale changes are necessary but has revealed he will have a strong say in the players brought in. Player recruitment has been primarily led by director of football Txiki Begiristain in recent years.

Guardiola said: "All the managers and sporting directors want to improve and get better. Even the team that wins the triple will still make changes, so a team that does not win the Champions League or gets to the final will make changes. I knew that.

"I met the big boss (owner) Sheikh Mansour in Abu Dhabi and I know the plan. We are thinking (of how) to get better.

"For players and managers, it depends on the results, but I want to be involved in that as much as possible, and to help my team to make the next step and I have more power than ever in my life as a manager.

"For me it's a big challenge and I want to deal with that."

Guardiola, speaking at a press conference, said he received a text message from chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak after the Champions League loss and it appeared it was a supportive one.

"In the good moments and bad moments, especially in the bad moments, I am really impressed," he said. "I appreciate that a lot."

Six of City's squad - Yaya Toure, Gael Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta, Willy Caballero, Bacary Sagna and Jesus Navas - are out of contract at the end of the season. Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony, Joe Hart, Eliaqium Mangala and Jason Denayer are out on loan and looking unlikely to return.

In addition, there has been speculation of the futures of Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero, Claudio Bravo, Fernando and Fabian Delph.

Despite all that uncertainty, Guardiola insists the core of the squad will stay together.

Guardiola said: "I am so happy with the squad.

"Speculation is normal when you are out of a competition, it happens everywhere not just the Premier League and England.

"I have said many times I'm so happy working with the guys and how they try to do and their performances. We're going to improve a lot next season and a lot of these guys will be here next season."

Toure has said he would like to stay at City but, with no offer yet forthcoming, his agent has revealed discussions with other clubs have begun.

Guardiola said: "All these issues we'll talk about at the end of the season."

Guardiola, who won a combined 21 trophies in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, has admitted he faces a bigger test of his managerial credentials at City.

The Spaniard told Sky Sports: "It will take longer, more time, to put the team what I want. In the other clubs, for many other reasons, it was a little bit closer (to getting there).

"That is why I like. That is the first time in my career I feel now is the moment you have to see yourself like a manager. That is the first time. The other ones I was so lucky (as a) manager, training big clubs."

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