English Premiership

Pep urges Man City to keep calm and carry on

2017-11-28 18:21
Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)

Manchester - Pep Guardiola says Manchester City's ability to keep calm and stick to their free-flowing attacking principles is paying big dividends for the Premier League leaders this season.

The City manager has already watched his players score vital goals in the final 15 minutes five times in just 13 games.

That has helped City open up an eight-point gap on their Premier League rivals and top their Champions League group with a game to spare as part of a record-breaking start to the campaign.

Guardiola was criticised in his first season in English football for refusing to change his style of play when his team needed a late goal.

But the former Barcelona and Bayern manager now believes his approach is being vindicated following Raheem Sterling's 84th-minute effort in the 2-1 win over Huddersfield at the weekend.

That came after late goals secured the points in matches against Brighton, Everton, Bournemouth and Feyenoord.

Guardiola, 46, is pleased his players continue to pass the ball, rather than adopt desperate, long-ball tactics as they seek late results.

"That's good when that happens and you don't panic," he said. "You decide in the last 15 minutes to change (defender) Vincent Kompany for (forward) Gabriel (Jesus), it sends a message to the rest of the team that you want to win.

"We played with two strikers and immediately after the goal we saw that they changed and put two strikers and play long balls.

"Because the holding midfielder was (Ilkay) Gundogan and the central defender was Fernandinho, we changed again.

"When that happens it's because they believe in what we want to do. It happened because last season we worked on it as well.

"The results help for the team's mentality and helps them believe a little bit more."

Guardiola faced heavy criticism last season for sticking to his principles as pressure on the defence often gave their opposition chances.

With City not getting to grips with his demands in attack, the manager was left to bat away questions about his style of play as his team finished well off the pace.

The 2016-17 campaign was also Guardiola's first without silverware in his management career, raising questions about his ability to adapt to football in England.

"I understand completely, we know how the business is," he said. "Always people come for the people who smell good -- and who smells good? The guy who won."

Guardiola said that he was pleased to have the backing of the City hierarchy, adding that moulding the team into his vision was a long-term proposition.

"People believe the managers arrive and everything works, but no," he said. "Sometimes it works next month, sometimes you need more time."


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Breaking News

Friday, 26 April 2019
Liverpool v Huddersfield Town, Anfield 21:00
Saturday, 27 April 2019
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 13:30
Fulham v Cardiff City, Craven Cottage 16:00
Crystal Palace v Everton, Selhurst Park 16:00
Southampton v AFC Bournemouth, St. Mary's Stadium 16:00
Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Vicarage Road Stadium 16:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Newcastle United, The American Express Community Stadium 18:30
Sunday, 28 April 2019
Leicester City v Arsenal, King Power Stadium 13:00
Burnley v Manchester City, Turf Moor 15:05
Manchester United v Chelsea, Old Trafford 17:30
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2018/19 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.