Pep Guardiola claims he “would love to stay longer” at Manchester City but must earn the right.
The City manager is now in the final year of his contract at the Etihad Stadium and speculation over his future is likely to grow until the matter is resolved one way or the other.
With City having won six major trophies, including two Premier League titles, since Guardiola arrived at City in 2016, there seems little doubt the club would wish to extend the inspirational Catalan’s tenure.
It is a place I love to be but I have to deserve it.Pep Guardiola
Yet Guardiola – who seemed similarly unconcerned as he entered the last 12 months of his previous deal – does not sense any urgency and, besides, feels he still has work to do to convince the club.
The 49-year-old said: “I would love to stay longer here. It is a place I love to be but I have to deserve it.
“This club achieved (high) standards in the last decade but we have to maintain that.
“I am going to see if I deserve it this season in terms of how the club goes forward and improves.”
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said over the summer he is confident “everything will work out naturally and in the right way” with regard to Guardiola’s future.
With the club also not pressing the issue, Guardiola insists his immediate focus is the new season.
Guardiola said: “We didn’t speak with the club in these terms. They didn’t push me from day one to today in September.
“They allow me to do my job the best I can and with all my staff and the players, and this is going to continue.
“They didn’t tell me ‘you have to do this or you have to that’, or ‘you have to win this or you have to win that’. They told me to play.
“But, in my feeling, I know the standards of the club and if I don’t achieve the standards, I probably don’t deserve it so I have to win to extend my contract.
“When it is going to happen, it is going to happen. Now we have other issues.”
City open their 2020-21 Premier League campaign at Wolves on Monday.
The competition has reverted to allowing three substitutions from a bench of seven this season after changing rules the to permit five from nine during Project Restart last term.
Some clubs, thought to include the so-called ‘big six’, were in favour of retaining five substitutions but were outvoted, with others feeling it gave rivals with bigger squads an additional advantage.
Guardiola believes this was a mistake.
He said: “I don’t understand why in this incredible period, when everyone is concerned about Covid-19, and everyone is not allowed to go to restaurants, or should not go to the restaurants, or should observe social distances, and is not allowed to do what you want to do, and in this incredible schedule we have after the pandemic, and we finished the season late, and started quickly, how we cannot protect the players with five substitutions, and instead we stick to three.
“The guys who are going to play below the five or six teams that people suggest are the stronger have the same problem. They have games every three days.
“We have to protect the players and with five substitutions we protect the players, but I don’t decide these kind of situations.”
Guardiola has also confirmed Fernandinho would be the team’s new captain following a vote by players and backroom staff.
He said: “He will be good. He is always a guy who leads in the bad moments.”