Sunday 21 January 2018

Players must think like winners - Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. Photo: Reuters
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. Photo: Reuters

Mike Whalley

Pep Guardiola has told his Manchester City players to start thinking like winners if they want to become the best in Europe.

Guardiola is certain that his team have all the talent necessary to take on anybody, but feels that getting the mental side of their game right is the key.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager's first season at the Etihad Stadium ended in May without a trophy as they finished third in the Premier League, with City repeatedly failing to win matches despite dominating chances and possession.

It appeared in the early stages of this season that the same flaws were still an issue, with City scoring just once from 19 goal attempts as they were held 1-1 at home by Everton last month.

However, Guardiola's side have found their rhythm since returning from the recent international break, scoring nine goals in a week without conceding any, as they followed up last Saturday's 5-0 thrashing of 10-man Liverpool with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Feyenoord in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Guardiola, who takes his side to face Watford at Vicarage Road in the Premier League today, has now challenged his players to prove they can produce such performances twice in a week.

He said: "The big clubs win the games and that is the big difference. The teams I left at Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and the other big teams, like Madrid, and Juventus, have a game every three days. They are there, they make a professional performance, score a goal in the right moment and win the game. That is the process we have to discover.

"Last season, we were not able to win many games against the top five, top six in the Premier League. We didn't win one game away in the Champions League.

"First of all I start with that, to believe. To believe we can play good football, but also that we can beat them, we can compete, even in the Champions League.

Watford v Man City, live, Sky Sports PL, 3.0

Irish Independent

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