Manchester - Manchester
City manager Pep Guardiola has absolved his players of any blame this
season, insisting the fault lies with him when things do not go their
Barring a 1-0 defeat to title rivals Liverpool on New Year's Eve, the
Citizens managed to steady the ship in December, having suffered
back-to-back defeats at the start of the month.
They are now level on points with Tottenham Hotspur, who occupy third
place in the EPl standings on goal difference, and will return to
action on Friday night when they lock horns with West Ham United in the
FA Cup third round.
And, having steered his side to a 2-1 victory over Burnley on Monday,
Guardiola says it is up to him to ensure his players remain motivated
and carry out his tactical instructions.
"I think all the managers has to be so demanding," he told reporters.
"Playing every few days, the natural thing for the players is to be
relaxed, [you have] to be there to say you have to do it again and again
"What I feel now, when I saw in the last few games, every time the
situation is not going well, it's my fault, not the fault of the
"That is my feeling now. What I saw in the last game against Burnley
and the behaviour, for example, of Liverpool and so on, it's maybe more
my regret than the regret of the players."
City midfielder Fernandinho misses Friday's clash as he serves the
first game of a four-match suspension the Brazilian was sent off in
the first half of City's victory over Burnley.
The injured trio of Ilkay Gundogan, Vincent Kompany and Leroy Sane
remain on the treatment table, while Fernando faces a late fitness test.
Guardiola has also eased fears that he is set to retire by telling journalists that he will not be leaving City any time soon and that it was perhaps inappropriate to talk of his retirement.
City face the Hammers next in the FA Cup on Friday night with kick off scheduled for 21:55.