Guardiola’s warning on maintaining standards
CITY’S win over Bournemouth has given Pep Guardiola a weapon to make sure standards don’t drop in his squad as they seek to defend the Premier League title.
The City boss was disappointed with the last 20 minutes of the first half. The Blues were punished for as Callum Wilson equalised on the stroke of half time, cancelling out Bernardo Silva’s opener.
But Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan scored in the second half to wrap up a 3-1 win and City extended their advantage at the top of the table to five points, with their challengers all playing on Sunday.
Guardiola believes the win sent a message to City’s title rivals, but just importantly to his own squad, especially in that disappointing spell at the end of the first half.
“We want to show our contenders that we want to be there every day. That is the most difficult thing in sport,” said Guardiola. “If you want to become good club winning one Premier League, you want to do it again and again, get 100 points and that is not easy. In the league we have just dropped points from two draws.
“That’s why today I now have a weapon and can say ‘guys, remember the 20 minutes in the first half, we were not good enough, and what happens when you drop off.’”
City are now three games into a run of 13 games in 44 days and Guardiola was pleased his side found a way to continue to set the pace at the top of the table.
He pinpointed Sterling’s slaloming run early in the second half, ending in a deflected shot off the post, as the moment the game swung back in City’s favour, with the winger scoring moments later.
“The last 20 in the first half we were flat. But that is normal because we play lot of competitions and a lot of games, that’s why I am delighted to win that way, when you realise how complicated it is,” added Guardiola. “Everything is so tough.
“In the first half Raheem was not there, then he made that slalom run and changed the game. I’m glad today, more than any other games, we played like we did in the second half. I remember after conceding the penalty against United the reaction was extraordinary. And the reaction after Lyon when we went one down and then 2-1 down, immediately after that.
“What we have done in the Premier League after 13, 14, 15 games is incredible and why it means a lot today. Maybe today it was not the full 90 minutes, but 75 was good.”
●● Raheem Sterling whips in a cross against Bournemouth