Guardiola not special, but plans to build on winning culture
PEP GUARDIOLA believes he is close to implanting the ideal culture at Manchester City and says the key to a “magnificent” follow-up to last season’s record title triumph is to remember precisely how that was achieved.
Manchester City open the defence of their Premier League title — won in such style last season — at Arsenal today, with Guardiola pointing to last Sunday’s Community Shield victory over Chelsea as evidence of the focus with which his players have started the campaign.
“A final, you have to try to win it and we prepared for it like it was a game in April, May,” he said, emphasising the culture at the club.
“The players know the coaching staff work a lot and I have spoken many times with them. I work a lot and I am good at this. I am not a special guy but I am so good at working, working, working a lot and they have to work too. And we saw it there.”
Guardiola believes the culture will help the team at difficult points this term. “Of course we will have bad moments but, at a club where you win titles, winning another one helps for the future.
“It is impossible to have a season that is perfect. We will have bad moments and we will have to work to overcome them because in the end the players react to what the club is, what the manager and the staff are and, of course, they know we work for them.”
But the 47-year-old is mindful that the last team to retain the Premier League title was Manchester United in 2008/09, which points to the difficulty of the task facing him.
“We can do our job, yes, but maybe Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea can do their job better and win. But if we do our job, we will be there. We were the best last season, definitely, there is no doubt about it.
“Now we start again. That’s why it is special. It’s a new challenge. That’s why we stay here. The moment I am not hungry I am leaving, the moment the players are not hungry any more they are going to move on. That’s the point.
“Forget how much Liverpool have spent because they may have spent a lot, but last season they were a good team as well. Maybe Tottenham could not spend because of the stadium, but there is Chelsea with Jorginho, Kovacic and Kanté in the middle, and Hazard, Willian, Pedro and Morata up front so you cannot say they are not contenders.
“Or Manchester United. People ask how will they do, but I know a little bit about the manager and in that situation how good they handle that. Arsenal are other contenders too. That’s why it is nice.”