Aston Villa v Manchester City,
Villa Park, Wednesday, 8.15 (Live on Amazon Prime)
City travel to Aston Villa, who have won 13 in a row at home, on Wednesday night in search of their first victory in four league games after surrendering leads against Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham. After being held by Tottenham, Gary Neville claimed City were complacent after winning three Premier League titles in a row. “I don’t have anything to say about the pundits, honestly,” Guardiola said. “Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think it’s about complacency. I know the players, I know how they run. How we behave is extraordinary. I have a feeling that if we maintain that level, we’ll win the Premier League. We will win it again.
“He knows how difficult it is, otherwise Gary Neville would’ve won four Premier Leagues in the best period of Manchester United. But he didn’t do it, you know? I see my team, how they fight, how they press, how they continue until the end and how upset they are after we concede. So I don’t have that feeling. Maybe, maybe I’m wrong and they are seeing everything that I’m not able to see. But I don’t have that feeling.”
City players were upset that the referee Simon Hooper stopped play when Jack Grealish was through on goal in the final moments of Sunday’s 3-3 draw against Tottenham. It has led to the club being charged for failing to control their players. “We behaved incredibly this season,” Guardiola said. “How we behaved in our not good results or decisions, even after the game the comments from my players accepting we can do better, is what I want to see from my team and my club.”
Guardiola said he did not think his team require the perceived injustice to inspire them. “We never use these kind of situations. Today the motivation is to try and do better. Sometimes decisions help you, sometimes they don’t. I learn that if you want to win something you have to do it much, much better than the opponents.”
Although Guardiola did rule out a decade of domination, he said: “I’m pretty sure we are not going win the next decade, 10 Premier Leagues in a row. I’m optimistic but not an idiot.”
Grealish and Rodri are suspended for the Villa game, where the hosts could leapfrog City with a win. When Rodri missed three matches earlier in the season after his sending-off against Nottingham Forest, City lost all three. “We won’t deny how important he is but if he is not there because he is suspended like Jack we will find the best solution to compete against Aston Villa,” Guardiola said.