Friday 23 August 2019

I'll be sacked if I don't turn things around at Man City - Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola’s City side have lost their last two league games Picture: PA
Pep Guardiola’s City side have lost their last two league games Picture: PA

James Ducker

Pep Guardiola has claimed "long-term projects don't exist" in football and has insisted he won't survive at Manchester City if he doesn't deliver instant results after blaming himself for the team's slump in form.

City's owners spent four years trying to entice Guardiola to Manchester and the firm expectation is that the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach will be given time and support to implement the changes he wants to make in the hope of turning the club into a serious force domestically and in Europe.

But Guardiola believes his situation is no different to other managers and that his job will be on the line if he falls below expectations in the short-term


City's shambolic 4-2 defeat away to champions Leicester City on Saturday coupled with Chelsea's victory over West Bromwich Albion left Guardiola's side seven points adrift of the Premier League leaders. They have also been eliminated from the League Cup but reached the Champions League round of 16, where they will face Monaco. City have won just four of their past 15 matches in all competitions and managed only one clean sheet in the last 17 games.

"Football does not exist as a long project," Guardiola said. "You have to win immediately and if you don't win, you are in trouble. When you don't win there are many reasons - maybe the opponent is better.

"No (I won't compromise my principles), no way. We are going to play the way I feel, making mistakes, but I cannot do something I don't feel. You have to minimise mistakes to win games, I believe in the way I like to play, so I'm sorry, I can't do that (change). The boss and the chairman are going to decide (my future), but no way (to changing).

"The reason why I'm here is to help them to not make mistakes. I'm the main person to blame. So, I'm thinking what I have to do to help them without changing because I believe in my way, with adapting to the peculiarities of the league.

"It's not going too well, of course, long-term projects do not exist in football. Then another guy has to be in charge because you have to win. Of course the club has to prepare in the long term, but the coaches, the managers, they have to win, or something is going to happen."

Guardiola acknowledged that City are flailing at the moment. "The last month I have to accept the results have not gone well," he said. "We didn't win the last four home games. We scored four goals. I have to accept we didn't do well. We have to improve what I believe, not change what I believe.

"When it doesn't work, you have to be strong. I have to accept the opinions of former players, the media, the fans because we didn't win. But I with and hope they will give me a little more time."

Guardiola said it was imperative City improved at winning the second balls after being alarmed by his team's defending against Leicester as he braces himself for another tough test at home to Watford tonight.

"You have to improve because we are making a lot of mistakes in the situations and I have to discover how to help my players because they do not want to make mistakes," he said. "The players suffer the same like me. It's tough for us.

"I did it (succeeded) in my former clubs and I will do it here. I thought it would be shorter to adapt here, maybe it will be longer, but I'm pretty sure it will happen."

Asked what he had learnt so far about the Premier League, Guardiola added: "Here you have to control the second balls. You have to control that, without that you cannot survive.

"In many other countries, when one guy has the ball at his feet, the people know what is going to happen. That's why the football is more unpredictable here because the ball is in the air more than on the floor. That's why you have to control that. The second goal at Leicester, it was a throw-in and the second ball is a goal.


"I understood English football the day I saw one game - I was at home - Swansea v Crystal Palace (5-4) - nine goals, eight from set-pieces. You have to control that and we are unable right now to control that.

"Eight goals from set-pieces- corners, free-kicks, throw-ins. That is English football and I have to adapt because never before I have lived that.

"All the strikers, for example, at Watford they are good at this kind of thing. I'm not saying they are not good with the ball in the short space. But they are strong from set-pieces and they used that. I am new here but old coaches a long time ago here also had problems with that. It is not only Pep. It is other ones as well."

Guardiola said Yaya Toure was available to face Watford and would not be affected by his ban for drink driving. "He's ready to play," he said. "He will not drive for the next time, for sure. He will be chauffeured. He will have a driver.

"He is in the squad. If there is a problem, the club can something about that but the court has made the decision." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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