Thursday 20 June 2019

Small steps enable Guardiola to see the bigger picture


Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City begin their title defence at Arsenal on Sunday (Richard Sellers/PA)
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City begin their title defence at Arsenal on Sunday (Richard Sellers/PA)

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Pep Guardiola claims simply winning matches, not more titles, is his chief motivation as champions Manchester City begin their title defence.

Guardiola’s City, who won the Premier League with a record 100 points last season, begin their next campaign at Arsenal on Sunday.

Guardiola said: “The target is to win on Sunday and then, after that, (against) Huddersfield and then Wolves. At the end we will see our level.

It’s one step at a time for Pep Guardiola (Adam Davy/PA).

“I am focused on that, not focused on back-to-back (titles).

“Winning is the best motivation and we will try to continue what we have done. Last season we were so happy. Why not try it again?

“If we play good and we are consistent we have a chance to repeat the Premier League. If we don’t we are not going to win.”

Pep Guardiola’s City won the Premier League with 100 points last season (Martin Rickett/PA).

City, who also finished 19 points clear of their nearest rivals last term, have made just one major signing over the summer with the £60million club record acquisition of Riyad Mahrez.

Although attempts were made to add a defensive midfielder to the squad in Jorginho, who instead joined Chelsea, Guardiola insists he is perfectly happy with his group of players.

“They show me in two seasons, especially the last one, we can trust them,” Guardiola said. “We believe we have a good squad.

Pep Guardiola is looking forward despite missing out on Jorginho, left (Mike Egerton/PA).

“I like to work with these guys, I enjoy it. It’s excellent. They are excellent human beings. I like playing with them.

“The results I don’t know, but the process of being together is nice.”

City will be the first competitive opponents for Arsenal since the appointment of Guardiola’s fellow Spaniard Unai Emery as manager in place of the long-serving Arsene Wenger.

City have a full-strength squad available after Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling returned to training this week. The pair missed last week’s Community Shield after taking delayed summer breaks following the World Cup.

Press Association

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