Pep Guardiola heralds six-goal Chelsea win as one of the best performances of his Manchester City reign

Ian Whittell
Pep Guardiola said where his team are is
Pep Guardiola said where his team are is

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 interesting insight into the mindset of the club’s players and staff.

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“Not yet,” said Guardiola when asked if City were on a par with Barca. “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 [Barca] team won the Champions League, World Club Cups, six trophies in the first season. It’s there.

“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. We have to maintain the level.”

Asked if it was one of City’s best performances of his reign, Guardiola said: “Yes, we played good.”

However, he refused to get too carried away, pointing to the recent shock defeat at Newcastle, and also claimed the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea at the end of the month has been made far more difficult.

“One week ago we played Newcastle, remember? 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 with his friend Maurizio Sarri at the end as the Chelsea manager went down the tunnel without shaking his hand. Gianfranco Zola, Sarri’s assistant, spoke with Guardiola instead.

“I spoke with Gianfranco and it’s no problem,” said Guardiola.

He, at least, offered words of comfort to Sarri. “People don’t understand how difficult the first year can be,” Guardiola said. “My first season here was difficult. People think if you buy players, you can immediately come in and win. But you need time. It just depends on the belief of the owners.”

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