Back-to-back defeats hint at flaws concedes Guardiola
MANCHESTER CITY boss Pep Guardiola admits his system could be flawed after back-toback defeats to Liverpool in the Champions League then neighbours United on Saturday.
And Red Devils boss Joe Mourinho has implied Guardiola may also have made a mistake with comments he made about Paul Pogba before the Manchester derby. Pogba scored twice to spark a dramatic comeback as United recovered from 2-0 down to win Saturday’s derby at the Etihad Stadium 3-2. Asked if it was Guardiola’s business to be discussing Pogba, United manager Mourinho said: “I often make mistakes. No problem.”
Mourinho claims the matter did not bother him, and Pogba’s performance proves the player was also unperturbed. He said: “No, I don’t even think about it. We know Guardiola (and) Mino, the relationship is not the best, so (it) is normal that sometimes they can come with a little ‘touch’ on each other. I was not worried about it, I was not upset by it. I didn’t speak with Paul about it, I didn’t call Mino to ask him anything at all. I was just focused on the game and I think Paul the same, because the way he played is only possible when he’s focused on the game.”
Guardiola was unwilling to speak about the matter again after the game but stood by his claims that an approach was made to the club. “I trust in my people,” he said. However, Guardiola is less convinced by his system it would seem: “I came here to try to do what we’ve done all season, but maybe it’s not enough to win at Champions League level or the Premier League.
“If that’s so I will have to recognise that I’m not good enough or the way we want to play (means we are) not able to do that – but I don’t think so because of what we’ve done this season.”
Guardiola concedes losing control in such a manner is not a new problem for him. He particularly remembers how his Bayern Munich side allowed Barcelona to score three times late in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final in 2015.
However, the Spaniard remains committed to fluid, attacking football.
He said: “I thought many times about that. I’ve dropped a lot of Champions League games in the space of 10 or 15 minutes. I’ve thought about that many times.
“Barcelona – 77 minutes 0-0, 90 minutes 3-0. It happened many times. Maybe it’s my fault. I have to think about it.
“But I feel that when you dominate and create chances you are closer to winning games and I think this season has shown that.
“The numbers we have done in terms of goals – not just goals, the chances we concede – are the best. But it’s impossible when the opponents arrive four times and score three goals – there is no system that can sustain that, so it’s so complicated.”
Guardiola accepts the mental scars of Saturday’s derby defeat could weigh heavily as City seek to overturn the odds against Liverpool, and though United’s win denied the runaway Premier leaders the chance to wrap up the title, the 13-point lead at the top suggests it is still a matter of when not if City claim the crown.
PEP GUARDIOLA: Man City boss concedes his system may be flawed.