Saturday 23 February 2019

'Outstanding' display one of best of my time at club - Guardiola

The City manager stopped short of comparing his current team with his Barcelona side. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
The City manager stopped short of comparing his current team with his Barcelona side. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Ian Whittell

Pep Guardiola heralded one of the greatest performances of his Manchester City reign and praised his players' thirst for success as they continue their attempts to become the first team in a decade to retain the Premier League title.

The City manager stopped short of comparing his current team with his Barcelona side that won six trophies in his first season in charge, but he offered an insight into the mindset of his players and staff.

"Not yet," said Guardiola, when asked if City were on a par with Barcelona. "We have won three titles since we are together. In Barca we won much more.

"But, despite the titles, the desire to do their best and where they are is incredible. That [Barcelona] team won the Champions League, World Club Cups.

"But after 100 points last season, if you don't have the appetite to push and push. Normally people fall down after what happened last season, we are there and it's nice.

"But our staff don't love them too much because we don't let them breathe. The only way I know is that the more you win games, the more you have to work."

Asked if it was one of City's best performances of his reign, Guardiola said: "Yes, we played good." Yet he refused to get carried away, pointing to the recent shock defeat at Newcastle, and also claimed the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea later this month has been made far more difficult.

"One week ago we played Newcastle, not two months," he said. "The final, now it's tougher, they will react.

"If you analyse the performances this week - beating Arsenal and Everton, to play this way - the players were outstanding. I said to them I just want to say thank you for what they've done."

Guardiola appeared to have a disagreement Maurizio Sarri at the end as the Chelsea manager went down the tunnel without shaking his hand.

Comfort However, the City boss insisted: "I spoke with Gianfranco (Zola, Sarri's assistant) and it's no problem."

He then offered words of comfort to Sarri. "People don't understand how difficult the first year can be. My first season here was difficult. People think if you buy players, you can immediately come in and win. But it depends on the belief of the owners."

"The main reason I came to Manchester City is because my boss, Txiki [Begiristain, the director of football], knows me," he said. "He doesn't believe I'm bad when we lose and good only when we win." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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