Guardi­ola not spe­cial, but plans to build on win­ning cul­ture

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - FRONT PAGE - JAMIE JACK­SON

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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.