‘HAPPY’ PEP TALKS OF EX­TEND­ING HIS STAY AT CITY

GREAT RE­LA­TION­SHIP WITH CHAIR­MAN KEY TO PEP’S FU­TURE AT BLUES

Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By TY­RONE MAR­SHALL

PEP Guardi­ola has re­vealed he is open to the idea of ex­tend­ing his City con­tract be­yond the end of next season.

His cur­rent deal ex­pires at the end of 2020/21, when he will have served five years at the Eti­had – the long­est stay he’s ever had at a club.

Asked if he would con­sid­er­ing ex­tend­ing that deal, Guardi­ola said: “I’m open [to it] yes, I’m so com­fort­able work­ing with this club.

“When you are five years it de­pends on the results. We will see what hap­pens this season and next season.

“I want to see the club, I want to see the play­ers, I want to see how we are still work­ing to­gether. That is the most im­por­tant thing af­ter five years to­gether.”

Guardi­ola’s wife, Cristina, and the cou­ple’s youngest daugh­ter re­cently re­turned to Barcelona for busi­ness rea­sons, but the Blues boss, who lives in a city cen­tre apart­ment, is still en­joy­ing life in Manch­ester.

“I knew how tough this league is and I’m com­fort­able with the pay­ers, they’re in­cred­i­ble, and it is a joy to train with them.

“We know how well they re­act when they don’t win, they win and they don’t play good, want to im­prove and when you see it it’s a dream come true as a man­ager and that’s what we have to con­tinue.”

Guardi­ola also re­vealed how his re­la­tion­ship with chair­man Khal­doon Al Mubarak plays a big fac­tor in him want­ing to stay at City.

He said: “I’m de­lighted to work in this club, es­pe­cially with my chair­man. We’re com­fort­able, talk­ing about the club. He’s an in­cred­i­bly hum­ble per­son and one of the nicest I’ve ever met.”

PEP Guardi­ola has pin­pointed the tac­ti­cal prob­lem which has led to City leak­ing goals.

The Blues have con­ceded 14 goals in their first 14 Pre­mier League fixtures, more than at any time in the last decade.

And that statis­tic sees them sit­ting in third place in the ta­ble, nine points be­hind lead­ers Liver­pool, as they head for New­cas­tle.

The de­fen­sive frailty reared its head again in mid­week as City could only draw 1-1 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, although the re­sult was good enough to see them top their Cham­pi­ons League group.

Guardi­ola was asked to ex­plain what the prob­lem was, and joked that he would need a video ma­chine and tactics board to ex­plain it prop­erly.

But he sum­marised the dif­fi­culty as be­ing a case of the team not con­trol­ling counter-at­tacks as well as they have in the past.

“We (need to) con­cede fewer counter at­tacks than nor­mal, they (the play­ers) know we are a team that have to con­trol per­fectly the counter-at­tacks from the op­po­nent,” said Guardi­ola.

“They know what they have to do. You saw against Shakhtar we were much, much bet­ter than them, the first half we suf­fered a lit­tle bit, and the se­cond half they had the goal and noth­ing else.

“You have to ad­just a lit­tle bit to sit­u­a­tions, that’s all.”

Asked to go into more de­tail, Guardi­ola said: “The play­ers know but it’s com­pli­cated to ex­plain. I give you a lot of credit as a jour­nal­ist, but we’d need a ma­chine to ex­plain that when we lose the ball, try­ing not to con­cede a counter-at­tack, it’s sim­ple.

“Some­times we lose the ball in po­si­tions we don’t have to lose, some­times we want to start on one side and fin­ish on the other side.

“We at­tack quicker, make more passes and more presses, and it helps to be to­gether - it’s not just one thing.

“The other thing helps us to be more solid as a team. It hap­pened in the last two games and we are go­ing to try to ad­just it. If it doesn’t hap­pen, we have an­other game to ad­just it.

“We know what hap­pened in the past. If we can con­trol it, we’re a more solid team.” Guardi­ola also said that op­po­si­tion teams have be­come bet­ter at deal­ing with City’s high press. “The team nor­mally, in the first and se­cond season, pressed the long ball,” he said. “Now teams are get­ting bet­ter, us­ing the ‘keeper. They let you run more. You saw it in the Cham­pi­ons League - you see Shakhtar, when they had the ball, the left cen­tre back had a lot of qual­ity. It’s not be­cause we do­ing wrong, it’s be­cause the other ones are do­ing well.”

We know what hap­pened in the past. If we can con­trol it we’re a more solid team

Pep Guardi­ola

City boss Pep Guardi­ola

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