Agitated Pep Guardiola won’t change playing style

‘Long-term projects do not exist in football, you have to win immediately,’ City boss said

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks dejected after his side’s loss to Leicester City in the Premier League. Photo: Reuters

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks dejected after his side’s loss to Leicester City in the Premier League. Photo: Reuters

 

Last week it was the subject of tackling that brought Pep Guardiola up short. This time it was the identity of the former player-turned-pundit who has been urging Manchester City to make more of them.

“Stan Collymore?” the City manager retorted when a Spanish journalist mentioned the source of the suggestion that his side need to toughen up and get more physical. “I have to accept the opinions of former players, the media and fans, because we did not win. But I hope they will give me a little more time. A victory will come.”

Despite that confidence, Guardiola sounded more downbeat than on previous occasions about the security of his job. After waiting so long to land their ideal manager, it was widely assumed City would grant him all the time he needed to make the adjustment to English football. But following Saturday’s 4-2 defeat at Leicester City, Guardiola stressed he is as dependent on results as anyone else.

“Long-term projects do not exist in football,” he said in the runup to Wednesday’s visit of Watford. “You have to win immediately and if you don’t you are in trouble. We are not going to change the way we play, I cannot do something I do not feel, but to win games we have to minimise our mistakes. Ultimately the boss and the chairman are going to decide on my future, my job is to make them feel more confident.”

City have just four wins in their last 15 games in all competitions, but though Guardiola accepts the last month has not been easy, he believes some of the margins of defeat have been narrow. “All I want is for my players to play as they did against Chelsea,” he said. “That was not a long time ago, I saw the game again and we didn’t deserve what happened. We were a yard away from a second goal, we could have gone top of the league and now we are seven points behind.

“We have to cut out some of our mistakes but the main thing in English football is controlling the second ball. Without that you cannot survive. The second goal at Leicester came from a throw in, the second ball was a goal. In many other countries when one guy has the ball at his feet the people know what is going to happen. Here the football is more unpredictable because the ball is in the air more than on the floor. I only needed to see one game to understand English football. Swansea 5 Crystal Palace 4. Nine goals, eight from set pieces. That is English football and I have to adapt.

“All the strikers, like the ones at Watford for example, are good at this kind of thing. They win the duels, and at that moment their strikers are better than our defenders. We have to try to win those situations more often than in the last few games, and we have to change the results, because they are not good enough for Manchester City. We are trying to be a little more aggressive in the tackle, as it happens, it is just not going too well.”

(Guardian service)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.