Manchester City HAVE failed to meet expectations this season, says Pep Guardiola — because they were too high
Pep Guardiola admits he has come up short at Manchester City this season – but says expectations of him were too high.
Boss Guardiola enjoyed glittering success at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but could be aboiut to end a season trophyless for the first time in his managerial career.
City go to Premier League leaders Chelsea on Wednesday, needing a win to narrow the gap to the leaders to eight points and keep alive their slim title hopes.
Guardiola conceded his debut season in England has not been a success, despite his Blues still being in with a chance of winning the FA Cup with a semi-final tie against Arsenal later this month.
But the Spaniard claimed it was unrealistic to expect him to revolutionise English football and win everything in sight in his first year.
“In my case, I had to win the Treble and change English football,” he said.
“Expectations were quite high — that’s why I’m going to fall short, definitely; I cannot have success this season [because of the size of the expectations]. In spite of that, I think a lot of games we’ve played a lot of good football. I didn’t expect that high level.
"But then also, we were not solid.”
City have led against Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham this season then failed to win the games, and Guardiola admits they need to be mentally tougher.
“I think it’s one of the things we have most to improve on,” he said.
“We react when we are in a bad moment, when everything is lost after we have taken out the best in our game. We need to be proactive as much as possible in the game, to be in a leading role in the game, so we need the process to change.
“It’s part of my job to help to put it in the heart and the head of the players. It depends on the mentality of the players and, of course, I have to convince them. In some of the games we were able to do that, but we’re not solid for all of the time.”
Guardiola is convinced his men have the measure of Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, despite trailing them by 11 points in the table.
City led 1-0 when the two sides met at the Etihad in December, and missed chances to kill the game before Chelsea hit them on the counter-attack to devastating effect, eventually winning 3-1.
Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho were both sent off in an ill-tempered finale.
Guardiola claimed his Blues were better than the Londoners that day, and said it proved a defining moment in their respective seasons.
“We finished the game against Chelsea four points behind them and, believe me, I saw the game many times,” he said. “We were much, much better. I’m sorry, Antonio [Conte], but we were. We deserved to win.
"At that moment the gap was one point, then four, then we go to Leicester without Sergio, lose another three and soon it’s 10 points [between the sides].
“There were unbelievable penalties that did not happen in that game, and many other things.
"In this kind of situation, against big teams, that influences things a lot.”
As Man City manager, Pep Guardiola will win...
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