Guardiola insists Man City will always play his way

Manager rules out changing approach after Neville questions side’s lack of physicality

Manchester City  manager Pep Guardiola: “The more mentally strong you are the more chance you have to win the games.” Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: “The more mentally strong you are the more chance you have to win the games.” Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty

 

Pep Guardiola is insistent Manchester City will always play in the image he demands despite a faltering first campaign managing the club.

City have struggled to keep pace with Chelsea and find themselves in fourth place, only three points ahead of Arsenal with three games remaining. Guardiola’s side were also knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage by Monaco and will end the season trophyless.

Earlier this week Gary Neville, a Sky pundit, questioned whether the technically astute side the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager is building can ever win the Premier League, wondering whether it will ever be physical enough. Yet Guardiola was adamant he will not change his approach.

“The only power I have is that the team will play the way I want to play,” he said. “I would like to be a physical strong team with fast and good headers but the team is going to play the way I want to.

Mentally strong

“Gary Neville played in England, he didn’t play in another country so he can’t compare. I am not talking about for example in Germany [saying] the people are not physical, or another country . . . Atlético Madrid [in Spain], I am not saying they are not physical. It’s quite similar.

“They play more often here and contact is more allowed – that is the only difference I have found. The game is 11 v 11, football is one ball and what quality you have. The more mentally strong you are the more chance you have to win the games.”

Meanwhile David Silva believes to challenge for next year’s title City will have to do better against their direct rivals. “We had good games at home against top teams: Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, ” he said. “Those games we played really well but we didn’t get all we deserved. Next season we can’t let those games go.

“Next season we need to fight for everything, for all the trophies. This season, it’s been our first contact, the change of an idea. The team understands the ideas clearer now and next season we will go all out. We need to win. We have clear ideas now and I’m sure there will be other players coming that will help us to achieve our goals.” Guardian service

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